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Plugged In-2020 Year in Review TRANSCRIPT


On Plugged In...

2020 is finally gone.

2021 begins with optimism …

that new vaccines …

to wipe out COVID-19 …

can return us …

to a more familiar …

way of life.

[[SOT]] Dr. Collins tc 4:45 “We are in a good place to begin to see how we might get COVID-19 behind us, but it’s going to take a lot of months to get there for everybody.”

Americans elect Joe Biden …

the next U.S. president …

on the promise to restore …

America’s health and economy …

And return to global alliances.

[[SOT]] O’hanlon tc 14:30 “Every leader of every country puts their own country first. The question is –how do you do it?”

Before we build for 2021 ...

We look back ...

At the year that was...

On Plugged In ...

2020: A Year in Review.



Hello and welcome …

to Plugged In.

I’m Greta Van Susteren …

reporting from Washington.

For many of us …

2020 could not have ended …

quickly enough.

When 2020 began …

the assumption was …

the presidential election …

would be the year’s …

biggest storyline.

Little did we know …

that before 2020 began …

a flu-like infection …

that started in China ...

would erupt into a pandemic …

infecting more than 75 million ...

and killing more than ...

1.6 million people in ...

220 countries.

The pandemic’s impact …

on the global economy …

and the education …

of more than a billion students …

will be felt for years to come.

VOA correspondent …

Steve Baragona …

begins our look back …

at 2020.




((TV INTRO: )) [[2020 has been defined by the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 1.5 million people and devastated economies worldwide. VOA's Steve Baragona looks back at a year of failures that saw America become the world leader in coronavirus cases and deaths.]]



The failures began while the coronavirus was shutting down cities in China and Europe, says Georgetown University health law expert Lawrence Gostin.

((Lawrence Gostin, Georgetown University))

((Mandatory CG: Skype))

"We didn't prepare. We knew this was coming. We should have known. We should have been prepared. When it did hit, the first major problem that arose was testing."



The first test, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, did not work. Then, months of shortages, backlogs and long waits for results let the virus get out of hand.


It did not help that President Donald Trump repeatedly undermined his own health officials, says University of Michigan science historian Howard Markel.

((Howard Markel, University of Michigan))

((Mandatory CG: Skype))

"This wasn't an administration that was used to dealing with experts. Not only didn't appreciate them. Didn't even respect them."



When CDC's experts recommended in April that everyone wear cloth masks, Trump read the announcement and then undercut it.

((President Donald Trump))

"So, it's voluntary. You don't have to do it. They suggest it for a period of time. This is voluntary. I don't think I'm going to be doing it."



Masks quickly became something Democrats embraced and Republicans resisted, never mind the science.


Polarized politics also muddled the difficult balance between protecting health and the economy.

Trump and Republicans mostly sided with the economy. Like in April, when Trump backed protests against coronavirus restrictions – but only in states with Democratic governors.

((Lawrence Gostin, Georgetown University))

((Mandatory CG: Skype))

"When the president of the United States urges insurrection against those measures, that's not a small thing. That is a devastating blow to the ability of our nation's leaders and public health agencies to actually fight this pandemic."



Given his opposition to prevention measures, it is perhaps not surprising that Trump caught the virus himself in late September.

But it's not just leaders to blame, Gostin says.

((Lawrence Gostin, Georgetown University))

((Mandatory CG: Skype))

"We just seem to be, as a nation, incapable of doing the little things that would keep each other safe, like masks or distancing."



From college spring breaks in March to Thanksgiving travel in November, Americans ignoring public health warnings have kept the virus going.



On the other hand, the American government has put billions of dollars into developing a coronavirus vaccine, which is now paying off, Gostin says.

((Lawrence Gostin, Georgetown University))

((Mandatory CG: Skype))

"America is now in the forefront on vaccine development, along with other countries. And it could be our saving grace."



((Mandatory CG: Pfizer))

Vaccines from drug companies Pfizer and Moderna were developed faster than ever before, with others right behind them.


As the year of the pandemic ends, the vaccines that may end the pandemic begin to arrive.


[[GRETA ]]

Almost a year into …

the coronavirus pandemic …

the first of the vaccines …

are being administered.


A week before …

her 91st birthday …

Britain’s Margaret Keenan …

became the first person …

to be vaccinated.

In the U.S. …

medical and emergency workers ...

along with nursing home residents ...

are first in line …

to be vaccinated.


Dr. Francis Collins ...

has been director …

of the National Institute of Health...

since August 2009.

He is respected …

for his work ...

in the field of genetics.

We spoke …

about the effectiveness ...

of this new generation …

of vaccines.



Greta Van Susteren: “Nice to talk to you sir”

Dr. Francis Collins: “Nice to talk to you Geta.”

Greta Van Susteren: “Well we Americans know what NIH is and we're very proud of it but what is NIH”

Dr. Francis Collins: “The National Institutes of Health, it's the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world. Basically everything that the US is doing in terms of research and academic institutions Institute's and our own intramural program is funded by the taxpayers through this budget, and I'm the director that's supposed to make sure it gets spent wisely everything from basic science to clinical trials. Diabetes rare diseases, cancer, and of course right now, COVID-19, and that's what we are all about $42 billion a year

Greta Van Susteren: I spoke to Dr. Fauci who works at NIH, several times and very early on and we were talking about vaccines and he said he would be very hopeful with a with a protection of 50, and that he was thrilled with 70. Now we're reading you know 9495 ish, is that you know the flu isn't that good the flu vaccine doesn't do that well

Dr. Francis Collins: It is astounding what's been done here Greta, because traditionally it takes eight to 10 years to develop a vaccine against a new pathogen, this has been done in less than a year. The US government pulled all of the resources together to make sure that coordination was happening. operation warp speed made it possible also to get rid of some of those long delays that oftentimes vex the process where you go to phase one and then you have to wait many months before you go to phase two, all of those things were synchronized in an unprecedented way, but not by doing any compromising at all on safety with efficacy over 90% which is better than most of us had dared to hope and safety record that also looks extremely good so we are in a good place to begin to see how we might get COVID-19 behind us but it's going to take a lot of months to get there for everybody.

Greta Van Susteren: Moderna, and Pfizer as I understand it, both have something called the sort of a science behind is something called messenger RNA, are they very different vaccines are very similar?

Dr. Francis Collins: They're quite similar basically messenger RNA is the part of a nucleic acid that codes for protein. And this is a very clever way to make a vaccine where you basically synthesize that messenger RNA that has the right information in it, inject that into Muscle, Muscle goes, Oh I know what to do with messenger RNA I'll make a protein. And so it does and it makes the spike protein, which is the stuff that decorates the coronavirus and those spike proteins, the immune system says oh no you don't and makes an antibody to them. And it's very quick.

Greta Van Susteren: Do Astra Zeneca and the Johnson. Johnson have the same messenger RNA approach to a vaccine are they different vaccines?

Dr. Francis Collins: they're using a different approach one that has been tried and true and other situations takes a little longer it basically captures the energy of a different virus and adeno virus just as a carrier a delivery truck and uses that also to deliver the coating for this spike protein so it's making the same kind of response happen in the immune system, but it's getting it in in a different way. And this is something that's been done successfully for Ebola so we know this vector system is likely to be safe and effective. The Johnson and Johnson one also is a single dose which will be very much easier to manage whereas Pfizer and moderna requires two doses one on day one and other one three or four weeks later, it's a little more complicated to set that up, we'd love it if we had at least one of these that was just one dose and you're done.

Greta Van Susteren: You know I'm old enough to remember landed on the moon that was such a huge game changer, you know, for the United States, I likewise see this I mean moving so quickly in a vaccine something that is, you know, that is terrorizing the world I mean it really is quite extraordinary isn't it.

Dr. Francis Collins: It is greta and you know 2020 has been just a terrible year for so many people with the suffering and death of this terrible pandemic with economic distress it's caused. And I must say, for science, it has been a challenge like one we've really not quite had to deal with before for life science, and it is really wonderful to see the way science has come forward. All of the partners in industry and academia and government, working together in an unprecedented way not worrying too much about who's going to get the credit to make these things happen at a scale and a timetable that was unimaginable before and I hope that's being noticed and I hope a lot of young people watching that might have the same reaction they did when we went to the moon saying, That looks like fun. I want to be part of that too because we have a lot more science to do in the future.


The coronavirus pandemic …

had a major impact …

on the 2020 …

U.S. presidential election.

From how candidates campaigned …

to how Americans voted …

the pandemic and its impact …

was issue number one.

President-elect Joe Biden …

Campaigned on a promise …

To ensure full inclusion …

And gender equality.

More from VOA …

White House Correspondent …

Patsy Widakuswara.



While the data is not yet final, there is no doubt that women helped secure Joe Biden’s electoral victory. 57 percent of women voted for Biden, compared to 42 percent for President Donald Trump.

((Biden walks in, AFP V000_8VT4U8))


Since becoming president-elect, Biden has nominated women to fill in key cabinet positions.

((Joe Biden, U.S. President-elect)) ((AFP V000_8VT4U8))

"While this team has unmatched experience and accomplishments, they also reflect the idea that we cannot meet these challenges with old thinking and unchanged habits. For example, we're going to have the first woman lead the intelligence community.”

((GFX of each women))


If approved by the Senate, that woman would be Avril Haines, Biden’s pick for Director of National Intelligence.

Biden also nominated women for Treasury Secretary, UN Ambassador, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and as chair of his economic advisers.

His senior communications team will be all-female, including press secretary Jenn Psaki.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will bring her own team of women, including Tina Flournoy as Chief of Staff.

((Linda Thomas Greenfiled, Cecilia Rouse, Neera Tanden AFP V000_8VT4U8, AFP V000_8WA43Q))


These women also represent various racial and economic backgrounds, daughters of working class and immigrant families.

((Janet Yellen AFP V000_8WA43Q, Jenn Psaki, Symone Sanders, AFP V000_8W74DX))

Activists say this diversity is needed to achieve what the Biden team has said will be key priorities - racial and gender equity.

(( TC 6:55))

((Sarah Fleisch Fink, National Partnership for Women & Families))

“We're really looking for people to be at the top levels of government who are not only experienced and established expert in their fields but who will have the experiences of the communities that they are serving, that they're intended to serve, so that they can truly make the best decisions on behalf of the American people and the communities that most need those support and those programs.”

((Woman working in food industry AFP V000_1QL56S, various of family/ woman and baby AFP V000_1HM76M, woman getting blood drawn AFP V000_8WF3KM, various women demonstration AFP V000_VID1002366_EN, Rohingya women AFP V000_1OX21G))


Biden’s agenda for women include improving economic security through equal pay and ending pregnancy discrimination, work-family balance including parental leave and childcare, access to health care, ending violence against women and empowering women around the world.

((Various COVID testing, AFP V000_8V47CD, various food banks AFP V000_8VP3CY, AFP V000_1R40M0))


Having female decision-makers is seen as especially crucial as the country faces the pandemic and tries to recover economically.

(( TC 4:41))

((Kelly Dittmar, Center for American Women & Politics, Rutgers University))

“We can look back and see just how important it is for example, that we've had black women in positions of public health leadership, as mayors of big cities, who said look, there's a disproportionate effect on black communities and even on black women economically in this moment, and they are making sure that policy is reflective of those distinctive challenges.”

((Various women dancing and celebrating Biden victory))


To enact his ambitious agenda for women, Biden will need to overcome partisan gridlock in Congress, where his Democratic party has a narrow majority in the House of Representative, and Republicans may keep control of the Senate.

Patsy Widakuswara, VOA News.


2020 was a historic year ...

for the United States Congress ...

From a Senate impeachment trial …

that seems so long ago …

to passing the largest …

financial aid package in U.S. history.

VOA Congressional Correspondent …

Katherine Gypson …

shows us how …

American lawmakers adapted …

during the pandemic.



[[From a Senate impeachment trial to the largest aid package in U.S. history, American lawmakers were kept busy in 2020 even as many had to work and vote remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. VOA's Katherine Gypson looks back at an historic year.]


((Opening of Trump Impeachment Day 13 – broll of Trump in 2020 SOTU, Pelosi and Pence behind him, wide shots of House chamber))

The impeachment of US President Donald Trump consumed Congress as 2020 began…

((Senator Kamala Harris, Vice President-Elect))

((Trump Impeachment Day 13 at 00:55))

“Donald Trump is going to get away with abusing his position of power.”


((Wide shots of Senate floor during impeachment vote at 00:11 in Trump Impeachment Day 13 then over to shots of Trump and Ukrainian President, Stills of Biden with son Hunter starting at 00:18 in Trump Impeachment Day 13))

In just the third Senate impeachment trial in American history, Trump was ultimately acquitted of charges he leveraged U.S. aid to Ukraine to target political rival Joe Biden.

((Chief Justice John Roberts)) ((Trump Impeachment Day 13 at 00:08))

“The President of the United States is not guilty as charged in the first article of impeachment.”

((Casey Burgat, George Washington University)) ((casey burgat interview at 1:34))

((Mandatory cg: Skype))

“While history may not remember or it might be a footnote about exactly why he was impeached, I think the Democrats were trying to lay the groundwork, or at least planted a flag that this President deserved to be impeached.”

((Broll of COVID Testing in Covid Number Rising 00:18-00:22 and 1:10-1:16 then over to cuts of hearing room in US COVID Politics from 2:35-2:45))


But the coronavirus pandemic quickly overwhelmed political debate.

((WION Gypson Broll 00:00-00:24 – closed/quarantine signs then over to broll of the US Capitol))

By late March, lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus had endangered the U.S. economy – pushing Congress to pass the largest aid package in American history.

((Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House)) ((US COVID Politics at 1:56))

“Lives are at stake – this is not the time for name calling or playing politics.”


Passage of the $3 trillion CARES Act was a rare moment of agreement in 2020.

((Casey Burgat, George Washington University)) ((casey burgat interview at 5:40))

((Mandatory cg: Skype))

“When Congress wants to do something - even an incredibly expensive package that has a litany of provisions in it, that touches basically all factors in the economy - when they want to do something they can.”


((Shots of Senators walking into Capitol some masked, some unmasked then over to wide shots of nearly empty hearing room, Senators appearing via teleconference from 00:11-00:29 in Corona 19 shortens lawmakers agenda))

But Congress struggled to adapt to new ways of operating to avoid the virus.

((Molly O’Rourke, American University)) ((Molly Crop at 7:12))

((Mandatory cg: Blue Jeans Conferencing))

“The United States Congress was one of the last institutions to make any adjustments. And even when they did with some remote hearings, and some limited remote voting, those accommodations were very temporary, and not fully embraced by all members of Congress.”

((Open for nat of protesters in US Congress Police))

((NARRATOR)) ((Broll of protests in opening of US Congress Police))

In June, amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody, lawmakers failed to pass an ambitious police reform proposal.

((Senator Tim Scott, Republican)) ((US Congress Police at 1:52))

“The country has given us an opportunity us to lead…to lead…and my friends on the other side just said no.”

((NARRATOR)) ((COVID Economic Broll))

Frustration continued as lawmakers failed for months to agree on another round of coronavirus aid. Democrats’ $3 trillion HEROES Act failed in the Senate, where Republicans warned of overspending.

((Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader)) ((McConnell Bite))

“I don’t think the current situation demands a multi-trillion package – I think it should be highly targeted.”


((Judge Barrett sworn in at WH in front of Trump in opening of Barrett Scotus Vote then over to broll of SCOTUS exteriors at 2:43))

In October, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court by the Republican-majority Senate against Democratic objections.

((Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader)) ((Barrett Scotus Vote at 1:13))

“The Republican Senate Majority decided to thwart the will of the people and confirm a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court in the middle of a presidential election.”


((Broll of Joe Biden then over to broll of Georgia Senate Candidates campaigning in Perdue/Loeffler and Ossoff/Warnock – end on broll of US Capitol))

That election decided the next occupant of the White House, Democrat Joe Biden.

But 2020 closed with more uncertainty on Capitol Hill. Runoff elections in January for Georgia’s two Senate seats will decide which party will control the Senate for the next two years.

((Katherine Gypson, VOA News, Washington))


Beyond the pandemic’s affect …

on America’s health …

and wealth …

President-elect Biden ...

has indicated …

change is ahead ...

in the way …

America engages …

with the rest of the world.

Michael O’Hanlon …

is a senior fellow …

and director …

of foreign policy research …

at the Brookings Institution …

We spoke about …

the global challenges ahead …

for the incoming …

Biden administration.



GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: How do you factor in the fact that Iran’s top scientist who has recently been assassinated. Iran has at least said that it’s further enriching uranium in response to that?

MICHAEL O’HANLON: I think in the end, they will watch out for their own national interest, with or without this scientist being alive. And so I think what you're going to see is Iran try to figure out how the world reacts, if and when Biden comes in and says “you know the 2015 deal was pretty good for the time, the times are different, and I need something a little broader and longer lasting.” And at first that will not be something Iran wants to hear. And Iran will test the waters to see if America's European allies, as well as Russia and China will really go along with that approach or maybe if the United States can be isolated in its desire for a broader arrangement. so that’ll I think be the initial conversation. I think it's going to be fascinating to watch.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: One of the problems that has troubled every recent American president is North Korea and its nuclear weapons ambition. President Trump tried to talk to him, tried to make friends with him. What will President Biden do about North Korea because it is marching forward with its nuclear weapons program, with the missile program?

MICHAEL O’HANLON: So what I hope Biden will do is pick up on the notion that first of all high-level engagement with Kim Jong Un or his covenant is a good idea. I'm not suggesting that Biden should have summit diplomacy without any deliverables, but there should be intense high-level engagement with people who can speak for the President of the United States and make a deal. And then secondly we need to be flexible and realistic about what that deal could entail. We need a little bit of the art of the deal even though Donald Trump himself could not deliver that deal. And I think it means accepting and acknowledging North Korea is not going to give up all of its nuclear weapons right away. They have too much fear about attack, that's too much a legacy of the father and grandfather of Kim Jong Un. We need a partial deal that in the short term freezes North Korea's ability to make any more bombs. And then in return for that, there's a partial lifting of sanctions and you leave the longer-term disarmament for the longer term. I think if Biden can be pragmatic in that regard he has much better prospects for success.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Finally, Russia, will we see a different approach with a President Biden towards Putin and Russia than we’ve seen under President Trump?

MICHAEL O’HANLON: You know, Biden's been a supporter of expanding NATO and bringing it eastward. And we promised to someday bring Ukraine and Georgia, former Soviet republics into NATO. That is just as you know so incendiary for the Russians. So, Biden's going to have to be, I think a little bit clever. Because if he leaves the basic strategy as it's been, keep trying to expand NATO to the East, for example, and then of course face down Putin where you do have to challenge him on issues like Russian tinkering in our elections, Russian suppression of its own democracy, Russian aggression in the broader Middle East -- those issues we have to oppose Putin. But if you also continue to try to push the idea of eventual NATO expansion, then I think you're guaranteeing a bad relationship with Russia. So what I'm hoping is that Biden will have a new vision for European security, especially for the neutral or non-aligned countries that include the former Soviet republics I just mentioned, as well as some other places like Armenia and Azerbaijan, even down to Cyprus, even up to Finland and Sweden, and try to think of how we can stabilize that zone, and also get Russia to stop aggressing against Ukraine, and find a new stable concept for Europe.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Michael, thank you very much always nice to talk to you.

MICHAEL O’HANLON: Greta, thanks for having me on.


Among the legacies ...

of President Donald Trump:

Securing historic ...

diplomatic agreements ...

between Israel and several ...

of its Arab neighbors.

But the recent assassination ...

of a top Iranian ...

nuclear scientist ...

is raising the tensions ...

in the Middle East ....

VOA White House Correspondent ...

Patsy Widakuswara ...

looks at the Trump legacy ...

in the region ...

and the challenges...

ahead for the incoming...

Biden administration.



((Trump and leaders on stage, AFP V000_8Q23E9))


The Abraham Accords normalizing Israel’s relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed in September,

Natsound clapping as leaders show document. ((AFP V000_8Q23E9))


is widely seen as President Donald Trump’s most significant foreign policy achievement.

((AFP V000_8Q23KG))

((President Donald Trump))

“After decades of division and conflict, we mark the dawn of a new Middle East.”

((Palestinians protest, AFP V000_8PZ6RY))


The accords altered the decades long regional perception that Arab-Israeli peace cannot be achieved without first addressing statehood for Palestinians. They also reflect Israel’s improving ties with its Arab neighbors as they face Iran, a mutual enemy weakened by Trump’s maximum pressure campaign of sanctions.

((Biden file, AFP V000_8VU2YK))


President-elect Joe Biden has said he supports more countries recognizing Israel, with a caveat for the Palestinians’ plight.

(( ))

((Joe Biden, U.S. President-Elect))

“Also I believe that Israel has to be prepared to work toward a genuine two-state solution.”

((JCPOA signing file, ))


Biden has promised to return to the 2015 JCPOA agreement which Trump withdrew from in 2018. The deal suspends Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

((Fakhrizadeh funeral,


The plan may be complicated by the recent assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist. The White House has not condemned the attack, which Tehran blames on Israel.

(( TC 2:17))

((mandatory Skype logo))

((Alex Vatanka, Middle East Institute))

“What I suspect will happen is the regime will keep a restraint on themselves the way they did after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani and wait for the Biden administration to come in and see if they can cut some kind of deal with him, although that will be a very thorny process in itself. But the fact is, Iran cannot afford a military conflict at this point with the U.S., or Israel, or for that matter anybody else.”

((Trump and Saudi Crown Prince, AFP V000_8TA4GJ, Trump and Netanyahu, AFP
V000_1OX98Z, Biden file, AFP V000_8VQ9EW))


While Trump prefers bilateral relations often based on personal ties with foreign leaders, Biden is expected to adopt a more multilateral approach in engaging allies. Still analysts do not expect a fundamental change in U.S. policy in the region.

(( TC 12:59))

((mandatory Skype logo))

((Merissa Khurma, Wilson Center))

“But certainly a different tone, and different type of engagement. I think that people, particularly those who are active in human rights and democracy in the region, will very much look forward to those two issues becoming important once again for the United States, not to promote aggressively but at least to support.”

((Various of U.S. soldiers, AFP V000_VID601225_EN, 4/24/2019))


Like Trump, Biden has pledged to end “forever wars” in the Middle East and Afghanistan, focusing only on al-Qaida and Islamic State terror groups

Natsound of machine gun ((AFP V000_8W74XQ))

((Various of fighting in Yemen, AFP V000_8W74XQ))


and ending support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Analysts warn that a decreased military presence in the region has repercussions.

(( TC 14:10))

((mandatory Skype logo))

((Natasha Hall, CSIS))

“That could be a lessened influence in the Middle East, and it could be a resurgent ISIS, it could be our enemies coming into play in the Middle East so there's a lot of things to consider that the president is going to have to deal with in the coming year.”

((Various COVID testing, AFP V000_8V47CD, Various vaccine stockshots, AFP V000_8VB4NM


In his early months, Biden will likely focus on the domestic pandemic response, including vaccine distribution,

((Various of Biden as he introduces team, AFP V000_8VT4U8, Blinken AFP V000_8VT6J9))


delegating much of foreign policy to his pick for secretary of state. Antony Blinken has worked with Biden for nearly 20 years including on Middle East policies, with mixed results in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Patsy Widakuswara, VOA News.


Social media networks …

struggled to deal …

with an increasing amount …

of misinformation …

and hateful content …

that is being shared …

Around the world.

Top executives …

seem to be caught off guard ...

when their platforms …

created to connect people ...

are used for malicious purposes.

Silicon Valley, California …

hub of America’s …

technology industry …

is preparing for …

the new Biden administration …..

as it faces pressure …

on antitrust …

online speech …

and digital privacy issues.

VOA Technology Correspondent...

Michelle Quinn reports.



((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL:WS Obama inauguration, MS Obama, toasting with Silicon Valley executives))

When President Barack Obama took office in 2009, a close relationship bloomed between Washington and Silicon Valley.

((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL: MS constructing seating at Capitol, WS Capitol, Biden taking oath as VP, CU Biden and Obama))

Flash-forward 12 years. On January 20, Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, is set to become the next U.S. president. This time, however, the relationship will be different.

((Gigi Sohn, Georgetown Law Institute for Technology, Law & Policy)) ((Courtesy: Skype @ 0:23:25))
“Even as a member of the Obama administration, I will say there was a soft spot for Silicon Valley that perhaps was more of a blind spot. I don’t think you are going to see that here. I think people’s eyes are wide open in this administration.”

((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL: aerial Apple headquarters, overhead crowd, crowd around display table, low angle 3 look at phones, video woman on phones))

What’s changed? Tech grew. It became the center of the global economy, shaping commerce, online speech, workplaces.

((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL: ws hearing room crowd, Sandberg and Dorsey take oath, screen with big tech CEOs))

In recent years, elected officials and activists have complained about so-called “Big Tech” over issues such as competition and digital privacy.

((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL: scrolling FB phone, scrolling FB laptop))

During the presidential campaign, Biden’s team criticized Facebook for misinformation on the site...

((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL: Biden speaking in S Carolina)) ((source: VOA archive MST))

...and candidate Biden talked about creating an economy that worked more fairly for more people...

((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL: Biden on a screen in WH briefing room))

...a sign some say the president-elect will be interested in looking at Tech’s power.

((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL: Zuckerberg enters hearing, photographers take pics, Congressional leaders/staff, Zuckerberg speaking))

Biden might continue to scrutinize tech firms, as the Trump administration, U.S. states and congressional leaders have done, over allegations of anti-competitive behavior.

((Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Director, Public Knowledge)) ((Courtesy: Skype @1:30:18))
“We are particularly concerned about competition and the power of the largest tech platforms, and I am looking forward to more attention on those issues in the Biden administration.”

((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL: street scene at Twitter HQ, street outside Apple building))

For its part, the tech industry is prepared for any scrutiny it may receive.

((Linda Moore, president and CEO, TechNet)) ((Courtesy: Skype @ 1:49:14))

“These tech companies have gotten so big because they give customers what they want....

((Linda Moore, president and CEO, TechNet)) ((Courtesy: Skype)) ((BROLL: couple posing at Facebook sign))

“ I'm very much mindful and appreciative of the fact and a lot of people in America are, too…. “

((Linda Moore, president and CEO, TechNet)) ((Courtesy: Skype))

“....I think that these companies are prepared for that kind of scrutiny, and I'm sure that they will be very forthcoming and going over all their business practices.”

((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL: bike passes Google building, staff on stairs at Google, man passes “immigrants” sign))

With a Biden administration, Silicon Valley has some things on its wish list -- a national privacy law and changes in immigration rules, to name just two.

((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL: country road, woman in field with tablet, man in field with tablet, 5G tower, CU transmitters, tracking shot buildings))

Tech critics and tech itself want to get more people online, particularly in rural America. The president-elect is reportedly working with Democratic lawmakers to prepare a massive increase in federal broadband spending.

((Gigi Sohn, distinguished fellow, Georgetown Law Institute for Technology, Law & Policy)) ((Courtesy: Skype @ 2:36:00))
“In rural America, there is not even a network to connect to, right? There's not even a broadband network if you had the money to connect to, but also deal with the problem, which is frankly much bigger, if people can't afford broadband because it's too expensive.”

((NARRATOR)) ((BROLL: Biden and administration walk on stage, Biden speaks))
As the new administration comes in, all eyes will be on how the relationship between Silicon Valley and Washington unfolds.

((Michelle Quinn, VOA NEWS, Oakland, California))

[[GRETA ]]

That all the time we have for today....

2020 has finally gone.

It was a historic year..

One that will be talked about ...

For generations to come.

2021 is here …

with a chance...

for a new beginning …

and opportunity to find …

hope and optimism.

Thanks for being with us.

And thank you for being Plugged In.

And ...