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.
His name is synonymous with great literature. Author of timeless masterpieces like "Romeo and Juliet," "Othello," and "Hamlet," William Shakespeare is widely considered to be the greatest writer who ever lived--or was he? FRONTLINE producer Michael Rubbo explores anew the centuries-old controversy over whether the literary masterpieces long attributed to Shakespeare were actually written by his contemporary, Christopher Marlowe. Born in the same year as Shakespeare, Marlowe was at the height of his literary career in 1593 when he was supposedly killed in an argument over a tavern bill. Marlowe's death, however, has been clouded in mystery, with some "Marlovians" insisting the playwright lived to write another day--but under the name of Shakespeare. FRONTLINE takes viewers inside this 16th century detective story in an attempt to unravel what some are calling the "biggest cover-up in literary history."
Each year, six thousand Americans lose their lives on the job. Tens of thousands more are seriously injured or exposed to deadly poisons and carcinogens in the workplace. Yet if one of those workers dies on the job due to a company's willful disregard for federal safety regulations, the maximum penalty his employer faces is just six months in prison. Are America's workplace safety laws tough enough? And are companies being held responsible for protecting the safety of their employees? FRONTLINE investigates workplace safety in one of America's most dangerous industries.
In January 2001, five-year-old Logan Marr was found dead in the basement of her foster mother's home in Chelsea, Maine. The foster mother, Sally Schofield, was a highly respected former caseworker for Maine's Department of Human Services. FRONTLINE examines the girl's short, troubled life and asks a series of tough questions: Why was a little girl who had never been abused taken from her birth mother? Was her mother given a real opportunity to regain custody? And did the state miss significant clues that she was in danger? Through extensive interviews with key figures involved in the case - including exclusive access to Schofield herself - FRONTLINE rewinds the story to look closely at the events that led up to Logan's death: from the state's decision to remove her from her birth mother's home to her troubled decline and eventual death in foster care. FRONTLINE continues its examination of Maine's Department of Human Services on February 6 with the one-hour documentary "Failure to Protect: The Caseworker Files" followed by a one-hour town meeting on child welfare policy.
The removal of a child from an abusive or neglectful parent is one of the most drastic actions a government undertakes; and yet it does so with little or no public scrutiny. In 2001, the state of Maine gave FRONTLINE unprecedented access to observe the daily lives of its child protection caseworkers, with whom the decision to remove children begins. In a companion presentation to Failure to Protect: The Taking of Logan Marr, FRONTLINE cameras follow a small set of caseworkers in one office as they interact with families and each other, dealing with the excruciating dilemmas and heartbreaking choices that confront them every day. Failure to Protect: The Caseworker Files is both moving and probing, asking such questions as when should a child be removed? How much damage do we do to children in the name of helping them? And when should parents lose the right to raise their own child? Following the documentary, FRONTLINE will air a one-hour town meeting on child welfare policy.
Four years in the making, this two-hour FRONTLINE documentary chronicles three pivotal years in China's historic evolution from a rigid Communist society to an exploding market economy. For more than half a century, millions of Chinese workers labored in state-run factories that provided cradle-to-grave job security. But the economic reforms that have brought the world's most populous nation economic prosperity and world-power status now threaten the livelihood of many Chinese workers. The Chinese Communist Party can no longer afford to subsidize the factories, and millions of workers are being laid off, with no social safety net to catch them. "China in the Red" follows ten Chinese citizens caught up in the social and economic transformation, and through their stories reveals a nation in flux and a people struggling to survive in a world they never dreamed would exist.
FRONTLINE examines the hidden story of what is really driving the Bush administration to war with Iraq. The investigation asks whether the publicly reported reasons--fear of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction or a desire to insure and protect America's access to oil--are only masking the real reason for the war. Through interviews with well-placed sources in and outside of the administration, FRONTLINE unravels a story known only to the Washington insiders.
For the past few months, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been fighting the biggest political battle of his career. Caught in the center of a high stakes political storm, he tried to personally bridge the gap between the United States and its European allies -- particularly France and Germany -- over the impending war in Iraq. FRONTLINE examines the roots of the discord within the Western alliance, the perilous role Blair has played, and the stakes for him and the West should this old alliance fall apart.
The world is running out of time to strike a peace-preserving deal with North Korea's strange and reclusive leader Kim Jong Il. For ten years threats deceptions and diplomatic ploys have shaped U.S. relations with the Hermit Kingdom. Now what happens next depends on the outcome of a raging debate within the Bush administration over how best to handle Chairman Kim. FRONTLINE traces the delicate maneuvers and clumsy turns that have brought the world to the brink of a nuclear showdown in Asia.
The Slammer hit on Super Bowl Sunday. Nimda struck one week after 9/11. Code Red had ripped through the system that summer. Moonlight Maze moved from the Russian Academy of Science and into the U.S. Department of Defense. A new form of warfare has broken out and the battleground is cyberspace. With weapons like embedded malicious code, probes and pings, there are surgical strikes, reverse neutron bombs, and the potential for massive assaults aimed directly at America's infrastructure -- the power grid, the water supply, the complex air traffic control system, and the nation's railroads. FRONTLINE investigates the threat of cyber war and reveals what the White House knows that the rest of us don't.
In recent years, media headlines have trumpeted the release of more than 100 longtime inmates who have been exonerated by DNA testing. But what happens to these wrongly accused inmates after the media spotlight turns elsewhere and they must attempt to rejoin a world far different from the one they left behind? In a new one-hour documentary, FRONTLINE producer Ofra Bikel examines the many social, psychological, and economic challenges facing exonerated inmates, the vast majority of whom must re-enter society with no financial or transitional assistance whatsoever. The film highlights the cases of several recently exonerated inmates and the hurdles they face as they attempt to repair the damaged inflicted upon their lives. It also examines efforts to pass laws that would allow the wrongfully convicted to sue the government for compensation.
With the nation's biggest banks about to finalize a record $1.4 billion settlement for securities violations, FRONTLINE investigates what New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer calls Wall Street's "corrupt business model" that cost American investors trillions. Tracing the stunning rise and fall of WorldCom, the hottest stock and then biggest bankruptcy of the 1990s, correspondent Hedrick Smith uncovers the hidden ties that enabled superbanks and Wall Street insiders to shape and profit from the telecom boom while leaving ordinary investors holding worthless stock when the bubble burst.
As Congress seems closer than ever to passing a new Medicare prescription drug benefit for seniors, FRONTLINE investigates the conflict between major pharmaceutical companies and American consumers who now pay the highest drug prices in the world. Through interviews with legislators, scientists, consumers, and industry leaders, FRONTLINE examines how states like Maine and Oregon have moved to control escalating prescription drug costs in the face of strong opposition from the pharmaceutical industry, which argues reducing drug prices will ultimately reduce the number of new innovative drugs they will develop.
Ten years after "edupreneur" Chris Whittle first announced his bold plan to revolutionize the way we educate children, Whittle's Edison Schools continue to be a lightening rod for the issue of for-profit, public education. FRONTLINE and the PBS education series The Merrow Report join forces with The New York Times to investigate the intertwined fortunes of Edison Schools and its charismatic yet controversial leader, and examine whether it's possible to create world-class schools that turn a profit.
FRONTLINE traces the roots of the Iraqi war back to the days immediately following September 11, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ordered the creation of a special intelligence operation to quietly begin looking for evidence that would justify the war. The intelligence reports soon became a part of a continuing struggle between civilians in the Pentagon on one side and the CIA, State Department, and uniformed military on the other - a struggle that would lead to inadequate planning for the aftermath of the war, continuing violence, and mounting political problems for the president.
What is the real story behind the group that U.S. intelligence called "the most dangerous terrorist cell in America?" FRONTLINE and The New York Times join forces to investigate the battle against terrorism here at home in "Chasing the Sleeper Cell." The one-hour documentary is the first in-depth examination of a major, ongoing domestic terrorism case involving Al Qaeda operatives and American citizens they trained. Questions are also raised about the effectiveness of the FBI and the CIA and whether or not the new tools they have are the right ones to contain the threat at home.
The past few years has seen an explosion in the popularity--and profitability--of complementary and alternative medicine. Under pressure from everyone from consumers to Congress--and tempted by huge grants--major hospitals and medical schools have embraced therapies that they once dismissed as quackery. So accepted, in fact, have alternative medical treatments become that an entire center of the National Institutes of Health is now devoted to it. But the question remains: Do these treatments actually work? FRONTLINE examines the controversy over complementary and alternative medical treatments.
As medications play an ever-increasing role in modern health care, the importance of FDA approval to consumers, it would seem, has never been greater. For many consumers, the phrase "FDA approved" signifies that a drug or product is completely safe and without risk. But just how much does the average American know about the FDA approval process and what it can -- and cannot -- do? How good is the FDA's system for identifying drugs that don't work or cause harm? And what happens when a harmful product makes its way into consumers' hands? FRONTLINE investigates the FDA and drug safety, and questions whether the current system is adequate for protecting the public.