Are you not afraid to admit to being a journalist for a mainstream news station after the elections? The new president won’t be likely to forget how ardently the media fought him during his campaign.
Rita Cosby: Those were the most dramatic presidential elections in my whole career. I hosted election programs myself and personally knew the candidates, even those from primary elections. However, I tried to measure the all equally, that’s why I was so disappointed with the most media, who unanimously supported Hillary Clinton and simply were extremely biased. During the election night some journalist went so far as to refuse acknowledging that Donald Trump won. I was on camera when the producer told me that according to Associated Press Trump won. I immediately informed my viewers about that, where most announcers sat on that information for half an hour more.
That’s an eternity in television. Are any heads going to roll?
Rita Cosby: Some changes will have to occur, because it would be hard to go back to daily agenda after such a fiasco. Some media have already apologized. Besides, the most biased daily news and stations will be forced to remodel by life itself. You can’t beat the competition without an access to the presi dent.
Is modern America divided?
Rita Cosby: Some protests are most likely inspired or straight organized by people who just want to go out on the streets and vandalize properties, but most stem from genuine opposition and concern, which have to be somehow addressed. President Obama failed to fix racial division problem. Too bad that as an Afro-American he didn’t take his chance. America is also threatened by terrorism. It’s one of the most challenging moments in our history. Having said that, I’m an optimist. We’re in for an exciting change, a presidency unlike any other so far.
Tomaczek Bednarek: This election has shown that the American middle class– people working on farms, in mines or in their small businesses – is not well, because nobody has listened to them for years. It was Trump who gave them hope. His rallies were attended by normal, enthusiastic Americans. They believed he shares their beliefs and embodies the American spirit; that he will lead the country towards a better goal and will reinstate the respect of family values and of constitution.
Rita Cosby: People from New York and West Coast simply overlooked this enthusiasm of common America, whichconstitutes 90 percent of this country. Why? Because they live in a bubble of welfare. While every taxi driver, security guard or farmer that I spoke with when I traveled supported Trump. These people decided that a billionaire, a self-made man will hear them out.
Donald Trump has told the Polish president, during a phone call, that most of the Polish community in the USA has voted for him. Is this a sign of a change of Poles’ status across the sea?
Rita Cosby: Definitely. Polish people also voted in Pennsylvania and those 20 electoral colleges gave Trump the final victory, of which he’s well aware. As a journalist, I have been dealing with politics for years and I can assure that a phone call from the presidentelect just days after the elections, really means something. Moreover, I’m certain that presidents Duda and Trump will understand each other perfectly, as their victories had the same unpredictable character. I have known Trump and his family for years and I am sure that he appreciates both political and historical role which Polish people had and still do play in America. He also understands the value of Polish-American alliance. I have spoken with him on these topics many times, he knows my father’s story as well as the history of Warsaw Uprising. That’s why I’m convinced that the position of Poles in USA will improve.
The Polish community in America used to for Democrats for years. Why this time they decided on a Republican candidate?
Rita Cosby: In my view, Poles living in the States are very sensitive to threats to homeland security and Trump’s position on strengthening America seemed more convincing to them than what Hillary Clinton said. Polish people, just like most Trump supporters, saw him as a leader – someone who has the courage to stand and defend their country. Should the need arise, defend Poland as well.
Does that mean that they didn’t believe in a message coming from media saying that Trump is allegedly Putin’s candidate?
Rita Cosby: I am aware that some comments made by Donald Trump concerning Putin may have sound almost friendly, which was also noticed by the Polish community; however, even though the future president wants to create a dialogue with Russia, I don’t believe that he’ll do it at the expense of Poland. He will surely try to improve relations with Russia but it will not endanger Polish security. He will be a great friend to Poland. We’ve talked about it many times. Besides, he was the only candidate who met with Polish community living in Chicago. It was an important message to all Poles that Trump respects them and appreciates their merits. Even more so, because many other minorities tried to set a meeting with him, and he didn’t find the time. No doubt this gesture will go back to him.
Can the Polish community be as influential in the US as American Jewish community, Italians or Irish?
Rita Cosby: There is no shortage of Polish organizations, for sure. There are Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union, Kosciuszko Foundation, Pulaski Day Parade, but from a political point of view the Polish community doesn’t have a strong position. We still need to build our political strength and use the network of connections on the highest level, which the Polish-Americans after all possess. As astart, I will personally speak with thePresident about abolishing visas for Polishpeople.
How is Poland perceived in the USA?
Rita Cosby: Better and better.
Was it bad so far?
Rita Cosby: When I went with my father to Poland in 2009, I noticed that even at their country Polish people feel unappreciated, despite having such history, of which they can be truly proud. Poland needs to invest in marketing, this way Americans will know more about you.
History is our flexible asset?
Rita Cosby: Aside from that, I would add Polish economical and creative flair, Polish relentlessness, courage and persistence, not mentioning tourist attractions. It is a mixture that makes Poland incredible and unique.
How do we sell it?
Rita Cosby: That may sound immodest, but some role in promoting Poland was played by my book, „New York Times” first bestseller about Polish history, since the publication of a book about Jan Karski. The bestselling book in America really catches the eye of media, that’s why I gave over 400 interviews. I gave lectures in many schools, churches and synagogues. I also spoke about this book outside US, among others in a Muslim school for boys in Turkey.
What reactions did you encounter?
Rita Cosby: People in the street often tell me they read my book and ever since want to visit Poland. My readers are impressed by Polish courage tough, I regret having to tell you this, beforehand, they knew next to nothing about Poland and those times. If they heard anything, it was the uprising of Warsaw
Ghetto. However, even when, during the promotional campaign I had to explain all over how in Poland there existed an underground army, that after the war, the soldiers couldn’t return to their country, each time I felt satisfied hearing how at the end of each interview, my readers spoke with admiration and sometimes emotion about Polish courage and scarify during the war. I have never encountered indifference.
Where does the success of the book come from? After all, Americans hear about anti-Semitism and concentration camps in Poland on a daily basis.
Tomaczek Bednarek: Americans, like every nation, love real and personal stories from periods of war. They also like hearing about their own history and Rita’s father was saved in Germany by American soldiers.
Rita Cosby: I think the popularity of the book comes from the fact that I described a very personal story. People know me from media and were curious to see my private side, which I have never shown. At the same time, they saw how the war in Poland truly looked. They experienced Poland’s best side. When my father told me what he had come through, I felt it was my obligation to tell the Americans about it. In schools we learn little about the war and even less about the Warsaw Uprising.
Are there more such prevailing ambassadors of Polish character in America?
Rita Cosby: There are plenty. Besides, I have a feeling that lately, the Polish community unifies. It’s becoming more confident and better organized. I myself have been trying to speak in media as much as I can on how Polish and American soldiers serve shoulder to shoulder on Afghanistan and that Americans will station in Poland.
Isn’t shooting a movie about Warsaw Uprising in Hollywood perhaps too ambitious of a project?
Tomaczek Bednarek: We’ll tell a great and true story - Frank Capra’s style. People are ready for it, because earlier Rita took them on an amazing adventure into times of war. We’ll show a showdown between David and Goliath, a young Pole fight German tanks with Molotov cocktails. Americans will see that Poland fought on the same side as they did. I come from a military family. My father and his brother took part in the Second World War, uncle fought in Vietnam and my own brother in a retired general of American army. And who fought side by side with Americans in almost all of these places? Polish soldiers.
Rita Cosby: I’m sometimes under the impression that Polish people forget about their history. I’m certain this movie will be directed. We may need a lot of funding but the money will come since this is a monumental story and one that Hollywood hasn’t yet properly filmed. We both, with Tomaczek, have really good connections in Hollywood, too. Even before I published my book, we received first offers of bringing it to the screen. At the time, all I was focused on was finishing the book so that my father could still see it. But now, I’m ready for the movie. I’m getting to it first thing next year.
We’re in for a block-buster?
Rita Cosby: No doubt about it. This story has such an amazing potential, dynamic action and a huge meaning not only for Poles but also Americans. We’ll direct a movie worthy of “Saving Private Ryan” or “Schindler’s List”.
Tomaczek Bednarek: With the most talented and known for their patriotism actors. This movie will be our way to honor both Polish and American people fighting for freedom. It will be the event of world film festivals.
Who will play your father, Clint Eastwood?
Rita Cosby: Why not.