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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

PBS's Frontline:The Choice 2004 - A Long Pro-Kerry Commercial

This post is going to be a work in progress, so expect changes between today and tomorrow. I am a bit too tired to write out all my objections to the program, so I will start with a few comments frontline has posted on their site... the comments section has been constantly changing with new comments being added and criticisms being taken away (or moved). Here is what some others have had to say:

What a (predictable?) disappointment! As a registered (lifelong) Democrat and retired Navy commander, I had hoped that Frontline would rise above partisan politics and produce a balanced program. With all the discussion qbout "liberal" bias in the media, one might have expected a meticulously evenhanded approach. Instead we got a Kerry campign broadcast. Disgraceful.

Steve Roach
Novato, CA


As a pastor, I was very dissapointed, to say the least, at how your program portrayed the President's faith as nothing more than a way to get the votes of the "religious right." Even that term has a negative connotation. Instead of viewing Christians as a group of people who want to make a stand for what they believe is morally right, the media often refers to the religious right as a bunch of "holier than thou's" who will blindly follow the candidate who says what they want to hear.

I believe that the reason some people have a problem with President Bush is that he does make a stand for what he thinks is right. For those who will do anything to promote relativism and tolerance at any cost, it is unbearable to think that a man will actually do what he says based on his own convictions and beliefs.

Overall, I am very dissapointed with your coverage of the two candidates. Your commentators and the details of the stories you decided to put in and leave out all portrayed Kerry in a positive way and President Bush in a negative and selfish way. Once again, you have shown that journalism is becoming a profession that is not to be trusted, as one's own agenda often takes precedence over the truth!

Todd Scheuerman
Denver, CO


Disappointing. I cannot fully describe my disappointment with the report presented by Frontline. To intentionally misrepresent the President as a party-boy turned religious zealot and political opportunist is a very personal insult to the millions of Americans who elected him. Equally disturbing was your remarkable transformation of a singularly undistinguished Senator into the image of a benevolent Statesman. Your agenda is as clear as the unveiled final image of the report – John Kerry’s our guy, vote for him. If there remains any integrity within PBS, the producers of this propaganda should be rebuked and a formal apology given to the supporters and viewers of public television.

Dan Di Iorio
Barrington, Illinois


I have been a watcher over the years and have really enjoyed your coverage of many subjects. Tonight, however, I was disappointed. Far from just presenting the facts and letting the voters decide, the dialog, especially of the Frontline reporter, was laced with editorial comments. John Kerry was referred to as "effective" and "professional" while President Bush was described as "arrogant" and "ambitious". Generally, John Kerry was portrayed in positive terms, while the President was portrayed in negative terms. In addition, the recitation of the records of the early years of both men only seemed to propogate the popular media half truths that have had new information or points of view brought to light recently. I dont know if the reporter has an agenda to support John Kerry, but the piece was certainly biased in that direction. Frontline usually does way better.

John Beauford
Arlington, Texas


I just watched your political ad for Kerry on Frontline and am glad to see that you have proved my feelings about pbs as another one of those liberal media outlets that leave out half the truth. You brought out the falsity about Bush's National Guard Service but did not mention anything about Kerry's Treason with going to North Viet Nam during the war to give aid and comfort to the Viet Cong. You also left out the facts that truly lead to Kerry's receiving the medals that he is proud of and not proud of at the same time. You should look into more of the swift boats against Kerry allegations.
Nor did you bring up the fact that it was Kerry during the Clinton administration that he said that Saddom was a imminent threat and that he must be dealt with. That he must not be left with the ability to use nuculer weapons. This was even before Bush became President. You did not point out that it was not only Bush that thought that Saddam had WMD's but also the U.N. Germany, France, Russia, and most of the E.U. You did not also point out the uses of these weapons in the past.

Quinton Zastawnik Sr
Centerville, Indiana


I just finished watching your commentary on Bush and Kerry. I had been waiting with anticipation for this program since I was so enthralled by the Bush-Gore documentary. I am very sad to see that this volume in the PBS Political library was overly biased. I felt that every comment on Bush was an attempt to impose negativism, ambition, selfishness, slander, and failure on the President. All of the comments on Sen. Kerry were ones that showed him to be personable, empathetic, effective, and underappreciated. Such a stark contrast in how the candidates were portrayed reveals an agenda that is, frankly, very transparent.

It seems that PBS is following in the footsteps of CBS. Too bad.

Richard Rychetsky


I just watched the Tues. night Frontline on the Bush-Kerry race in 2004. It would have drawn a standing O at the Democratoc Convention. Is PBS a 527 organtization? Between the lingering pans in sepia tones of Kerry being a bureaucrat and Bush being a reformed frat rat muddling through, I learned a little bit more than I knew about Kerry.

Paint him in any tones you want and try to sell him, he is wrong. 16 UN sanctions and ten years did not oust Hussein; strength did. Detente and calls for Nuclear Freezes did not bring down the Soviet Union; basing Pershing missles in Europe to match the Russian's SS-20s did. Kerry and the Euro-socialists all were warning then; they are wrong now.

It's sad to see PBS drop all pretense of political fariness.

bob nelson
tulsa, OK


Nice hatchet job on the President. So much for an unbiased opinion. I'm glad you take public funds to bite the hands that feeds you.

Robert Denk
Cincinnati, Ohio


I am very displeased with your coverage of President Bush in this program. First, how is it that the majority of "narrative" information about him comes from a journalist (and one who is negative in his views of the president), whereas the information on Sen. Kerry comes from friends and statesmen who do nothing but speak very highly of him? Second, how is it that you use men who have been discretited (e.g. Woodward and Clarke), and who are clearly anit-Bush to speak about the president, whereas that is not the case for Sen. Kerry? Overall, I find your portrayal of Sen Kerry to be blatantly biased in the positive direction, whereas your overall portrayal of President Bush to be blatantly biased in the negative direction. This program is below the standards of public television.

Martha Brown


What a disgraceful show you put on tonight. Honestly, I am stunned. Could you possibly have distorted the records of these two men more than you did. This show is so slanted in the direction of showing John Kerry in the most favorable light and not even once discussing the many negatives which have been discussed over and over again regarding his service in Vietnam, his career in public life and who he is personally. Here's what we learned about George Bush. He was a slackard in school, a party boy, a drunk, a no-show in the National Guard, a drifter, an opportunist, a light weight in the media, a religous nut, a failure in politics until he hooked up with Rove. I couldn't continue watching because it was too insulting to my intelligence to warrant any more of my time. This was propaganda--you might as well have included Michael Moore. I had hoped that you would show a balanced view of these two men but this was an infomercial for John Kerry and paid for by public money. I hope that the Sinclair Broadcasting Company airs their negative documenary on Kerry. Previously I thought this would be unfair. You (the liberal media)want it all one way--you can dish it out but you can't take it. All in all a very disappointing program from Frontline which in the past has done such a fine job of educating us on various issues.

Argie Simon
New York, NY
I posted all the views I agreed with. When I first went here a few hours ago, the feedback was almost exclusively negative. Since then they have posted several positive and supportive messages. I left my .02, but I am 100% sure they will not be posting it. I will delve into this more tomorrow.

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