Since it began in 1983, Frontline has been airing public-affairs documentaries that explore a wide scope of the complex human experience. Frontline's goal is to extend the impact of the documentary beyond its initial broadcast by serving as a catalyst for change.
Fifteen years ago, DNA analysis was nonexistent. Today, more than seventy inmates accused of rape and murder have been freed because DNA tests proved their innocence in a way that evidence, courtroom testimony, and eyewitness accounts never could. Why then are prosecutors, courts, and even governors reluctant to use this scientific test? And when evidence has been tested and DNA does not match that of the accused, how can the law overlook the results? FRONTLINE investigates the reasons why inmates remain in prison despite DNA evidence that excludes them as the perpetrators.
In May 1998, a year before the massacre at Columbine High, fifteen-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his mother and father, and then opened fire at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon, killing two fellow students and wounding twenty-five others. In this first in-depth television examination of a school shooter, FRONTLINE reveals the intimate inside story of how the "shy and likeable" Kip Kinkel from a solid middle-class family became the boy police call "a cold-hearted killer."
When the Gulf War ended, the United States government believed the Iraqis would quickly overthrow Saddam Hussein. But nine years later, he still rules Iraq. FRONTLINE investigates Saddam's ruthless rise to power and how he has maintained his grip despite pressure from economic sanctions, no-fly zones, UN weapons inspectors, and military attacks from the Iraqi opposition.
On February 19, 1999, in Sylacauga, Alabama, 39-year-old computer programmer Billy Jack Gaither was murdered - the victim of a violent hate crime. One of the convicted killers testified he killed Gaither because he was "queer." Why have gays like Gaither and Matthew Shepard become the targets of such brutality? On February 15, nearly one year after the Gaither murder, FRONTLINE correspondent Forrest Sawyer explores the roots of homophobia in America-as a catalyst for hate crimes and as a phenomenon that permeates our society-and asks how these attitudes, beliefs, and fears contribute to the recent rise in violence against gays.
Twelve months ago, in the skies above Kosovo, NATO went to war. It was a war that unleashed terrible brutality. On one side was a ruthless leader-Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic-who claimed history was on his side. On the other, an alliance whose politicians believed that this was a crusade for moral values. It was a war where the politicians, rather than the military commanders, dictated the battlefield strategy and tactics. At its end, the war had produced one million refugees, thousands of civilian deaths, and a broken land still without peace. FRONTLINE correspondent Peter Boyer undertakes the first in-depth examination of a European war rife with diplomatic infighting and military stumbling.
In the second hour of this analysis of a military effort hampered by diplomatic infighting, senior military leaders -- including Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark, in his first in-depth interview -- tell the story of political constraints, internal divisions and miscalculations that shaped the war in Bosnia.
In the 1990s, cost-cutting HMOs were reviled as the enemy of doctors and patients. After fighting to regain control of the medical process, doctors are now struggling to manage tough financial decisions as well as patient care. On a daily basis, doctors find themselves faced with the often excruciating responsibility of balancing quality care against their own bottom line. FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith goes inside one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching hospitals and discovers Dr. Martin Solomon, a highly rated primary care physician, embroiled in the most bitter conflict of his career. He and his colleagues battle with each other over cutting costs, worry about the impact of red ink on their own income, and fear the struggle between care and costs will not only damage quality but will ultimately tear apart the trust between doctors and patients.
Since the late 1980s, rising temperatures and dramatic weather-from heat waves and hurricanes to melting glaciers-have fueled a global political and scientific debate about whether life on earth is imperiled by human-caused global warming. NOVA and FRONTLINE join forces to examine what climatologists really know about the greenhouse effect. What is the connection between rising levels of carbon dioxide and rising temperatures? And what will the real impact of global warming be? The program examines the enormous difficulty in reducing the levels of greenhouse gases in a highly technological world economy and explores the political struggle between environmentalists and industrialists, between rich and poor countries, to grapple with what promises to be the most perplexing issue of the twenty-first century.
For years there existed a rumor that Thomas Jefferson had a long-standing relationship and several children by Sally Hemings, a woman who was his slave. Now, DNA tests all but prove the rumor true. An early hero of the anti-slavery movement, Jefferson wrote brilliantly of the corrupting influence of slavery on blacks and whites alike. Yet it is now apparent that he lived a dual life, sharing his house with his white daughter and grandchildren while his unacknowledged mistress and his children by her worked in the same house as slaves. In a personal essay, FRONTLINE correspondent Shelby Steele examines Jefferson's life and follows the descendants of Jefferson and Hemings as they undergo DNA testing, search out their family history, and try to sort out their place along America's blurred color line.
Almost a decade after the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia is arguably more free than at any time in its history. But while the West has applauded the market reforms of former President Boris Yeltsin, in Russia there has been collapse. Today, as the country is being militarized, anti-Western propaganda is increasing. In pushing its ideas of reform, did the U.S. turn a blind eye to Kremlin illegality and compromise the moral authority America cultivated throughout the Cold War? As career KGB officer Vladimir Putin-Yeltsin's anointed successor-is set to ascend to Russia's presidency, FRONTLINE takes an in-depth look at what Russia has become and why.
With more students than ever enrolled in kindergarten through high school, education is now a top voter concern. What's needed to improve our public schools-better teachers, smaller classes, greater parent involvement, higher standards, more tests? Or, is privatization the answer? Democrats and Republicans differ sharply on the hot button issue of school vouchers and whether public funds should be used to pay for private or parochial schools. FRONTLINE explores the heated political debate over the reform of public education and investigates the spectrum of "school choice" options-from vouchers to charter schools to for-profit academies-and their growing popularity in troubled inner cities. FRONTLINE also interviews presidential candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush about their views on reform initiatives and looks at their track records on improving public schools.
As Americans prepare for the first presidential election of the 21st century, FRONTLINE opens its nineteenth season with a dual biography of the two men who hope to become the next president of the United States. The two-hour documentary goes beyond the political rhetoric to explore how the candidates and their values have been shaped by family background, history, victory and defeat. By eschewing political pundits in favor of insightful comments from friends, mentors, historians, and spiritual advisors, "The Choice 2000" offers viewers-and voters-a chance to see these two individuals in a fresh light before the campaign reaches its climax on Election Day.
In 1968, the federal drug enforcement budget was $60 million. By the end of fiscal year 1999, that same budget had exploded to more than $17 billion. Yet despite the United States' vast efforts during the past three decades to stop the flow of illegal drugs, the use of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and other illicit drugs remains essentially unchanged. FRONTLINE presents the first television history of America's war on drugs as told from both sides of the battlefield in a special four-hour report. Part I recounts the origins of the anti-drug campaign, from the Nixon administration's drug control efforts to the rapid rise and fall of the Colombian drug cartels.
In 1968, the federal drug enforcement budget was $60 million. By the end of fiscal year 1999, that same budget had exploded to more than $17 billion. Yet despite the United States' vast efforts during the past three decades to stop the flow of illegal drugs, the use of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and other illicit drugs remains essentially unchanged. FRONTLINE presents the first television history of America's war on drugs as told from both sides of the battlefield in a special four-hour report. In Part II of "Drug Wars," FRONTLINE examines the impact of crack cocaine on our city streets and our criminal justice system. The report also investigates Mexico's role in supplying drugs to meet American demand.
The U.S. Army is experiencing an identity crisis brought on by the end of the Cold War. As it heads into the 21st century, the nations largest military service is struggling to keep pace with changing technology, changing enemies and increasingly global missions. FRONTLINE examines the army's internal debate between those promoting change and those resisting it, and how today's decisions may impact the outcome of wars fought decades from now.
Homicides, drug arrests, car theft, assault and battery...it's all in a day's work for the prosecutors of Boston's criminal courts, where 50,000 cases are decided each year. In a two-part special report, FRONTLINE goes inside the halls of the Suffolk County courts to reveal the offers, counteroffers, deals, and compromises that keep cases moving through our crowded courts. Part I of the documentary takes viewers inside District Court, where overworked and underfunded prosecutors and public defenders shuttle between different cases and different courts in a seemingly endless attempt to keep the wheels of justice turning.
Homicides, drug arrests, car theft, assault and battery...it's all in a day's work for the prosecutors of Boston's criminal courts, where 50,000 cases are decided each year. In a two-part special report, FRONTLINE goes inside the halls of the Suffolk County courts to reveal the offers, counteroffers, deals, and compromises that keep cases moving through our crowded courts. Part II of this special report moves from District Court to Suffolk County Superior Court, where the crimes are serious and the stakes are high. From manslaughter to child abuse to murder, FRONTLINE's cameras follow the prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims, and defendants as they bargain and negotiate their way through the criminal justice system.