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The FRONTLINE Dispatch

Author: FRONTLINE PBS, WGBH

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An award-winning, original, investigative series made by the team behind the acclaimed PBS documentary show, FRONTLINE. From the long and deadly arm of 9/11, to a police shooting in West Virginia with a startling twist, to what life is really like for children living in a Kenyan refugee camp, each episode follows a different reporter through an investigation that sometimes is years in the making. The FRONTLINE Dispatch – because some stories are meant to be heard.

Produced at FRONTLINE’s headquarters at WGBH in Boston and powered by PRX.

The FRONTLINE Dispatch is made possible by the Abrams Foundation Journalism Initiative.
43 Episodes
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In this special audio presentation, FRONTLINE shares a podcast version of The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden, a new documentary interweaving investigative biographies of the two main-party presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, with a focus on how they have responded in moments of political and personal crisis.  Veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team interview friends, family, colleagues and critics about the challenges and setbacks that have shaped both Trump and Biden’s lives — and how each man’s handling of those moments could inform their approaches to leadership at this pivotal juncture in America’s history.
Making "The Choice"

Making "The Choice"

2020-09-2232:13

Before America votes, what can Biden and Trump’s responses to past crises — both personal and political — tell us about how they might lead the United States through a time of national turbulence?  In this episode, Michael Kirk, veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker and director of The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden, reflects on how the candidates have confronted challenges and setbacks throughout their lives and careers, and how the stakes in this election cycle feel especially high. Having conducted nearly 50 new interviews for this film, his fifth installment of The Choice, Kirk says: "Most people can't remember a starker choice. I really think everybody thinks this is the election of the century." The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden premieres on PBS and online Tuesday, Sept. 22.
As part of FRONTLINE’s Transparency Project, all this week we’re publishing key interviews conducted as part of the reporting for The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden, a two-hour documentary special about the major-party political candidates. The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden airs on PBS and online Tuesday, September 22nd. Read more about Frontline’s Transparency Project at frontline.org.   In this episode, John Bolton is interviewed by FRONTLINE’s Gabrielle Schonder. Bolton served as national security adviser to Donald Trump from 2018 to 2019. He was previously the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and is the author of The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir. Bolton shares his observations about President Trump’s approach to national security, including his unusual lack of interest, for a president, in receiving intelligence and other information.
As part of FRONTLINE’s Transparency Project, all this week we’re publishing key interviews conducted as part of the reporting for The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden, a two-hour documentary special about the major-party political candidates. The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden airs on PBS and online Tuesday, September 22nd. Read more about Frontline’s Transparency Project at frontline.org. In this episode, Yusef Salaam is interviewed by FRONTLINE’s Gabrielle Schonder. Salaam was falsely accused of rape and assault of a jogger in Central Park in 1989 in what became known as the “Central Park Five” case. He was exonerated in 2002, and is now an activist and motivational speaker. Salaam discusses the full-page ad that Donald Trump took out in local newspapers in 1989, calling for the execution of the Central Park Five.
As part of FRONTLINE’s Transparency Project, all this week we’re publishing key interviews conducted as part of the reporting for The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden, a two-hour documentary special about the major-party political candidates. The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden airs on PBS and online Tuesday, September 22nd. Read more about Frontline’s Transparency Project at frontline.org.   In this episode, Rudy Giuliani is interviewed by FRONTLINE’s Michael Kirk. Giuliani is a politician and attorney who serves as one of Donald Trump’s personal lawyers. He was the mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001. Giuliani talks about Donald Trump’s transition from New York real estate developer to politician, and Giuliani’s own role in helping Trump survive the Access Hollywood revelation in 2016. 
As part of FRONTLINE’s Transparency Project, all this week we’re publishing key interviews conducted as part of the reporting for The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden, a two-hour documentary special about the major-party political candidates. The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden airs on PBS and online Tuesday, September 22nd. Read more about Frontline’s Transparency Project at frontline.org. In this episode, Valerie Biden Owens is interviewed by FRONTLINE’s Jim Gilmore. Valerie Biden Owens is Joe Biden’s sister and has managed his seven senatorial campaigns, as well as his presidential campaigns. She talks about Joe Biden’s childhood in their Catholic family, including his struggles with a stutter and how that shaped his character.
As part of FRONTLINE’s Transparency Project, all this week we’re publishing key interviews conducted as part of the reporting for The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden, a two-hour documentary special about the major-party political candidates. The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden airs on PBS and online Tuesday, September 22nd. Read more about Frontline’s Transparency Project at frontline.org. In this episode, Carol Moseley Braun is interviewed by FRONTLINE’s Jim Gilmore. Carol Moseley Braun is a Democrat from Illinois who was the first African American woman Senator. She served on the Senate Judiciary Committee under the leadership of Joe Biden. Carol Moseley Braun shares her thoughts on Joe Biden’s career in public service, including his record on racism and sexism.
As part of Frontline’s Transparency Project, all this week we’re publishing key interviews conducted as part of the reporting for The Choice 2020, a two-hour documentary special about the major-party political candidates. The Choice 2020 airs on PBS and online Tuesday, September 22nd. Read more about Frontline’s Transparency Project at frontline.org.   In this episode, Mary Trump is interviewed by Frontline’s Gabrielle Schonder. Mary Trump is a psychologist and businesswoman, and the niece of President Donald Trump. She wrote the bestselling book about her uncle: Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man. Mary Trump discusses Donald Trump's upbringing, including the huge shadow cast by his father, Fred Trump.
How the coronavirus separated a mother from her newborn baby, and the schoolteacher who stepped in to help the family in their time of need. Filmmaker Oscar Guerra discusses the story at the heart of his new FRONTLINE documentary, [Love, Life & the Virus](applewebdata://30F093A3-2634-418D-B298-3476051BCE10/Love,%20Life%20&%20the%20Virus.) — which follows a mother, Zully, who gave birth on a ventilator with COVID-19 and then spent nearly three weeks in a coma battling the virus. It wasn’t safe for Zully’s newborn to go home to her husband and older son, who were infected as well — so her older son’s ESL teacher, Luciana Lira, took the baby in while the family recovered, saying, “I am willing to help, 100 percent.” Guerra speaks about the challenges facing immigrant families like Zully’s in the time of the coronavirus, how herthe community in Stamford, Connecticut banded together to help — and what it was like to document the “beautiful” moment when the mother and her infant son were finally reunited.  Stream [Love, Life & the Virus](applewebdata://80B22952-4564-4D84-BC44-D99E3CCE6F54/Love,%20Life%20&%20the%20Virus%E2%80%9D) beginning the night of Tues., Aug. 11. 
They’ve been keeping America fed throughout the pandemic — and they say they’ve had to choose between their health and their jobs. For the essential agriculture workers who pick and process the food we eat, many of them undocumented immigrants, COVID-19 is amplifying existing challenges. Journalists Daffodil Altan and Andrés Cediel discuss what their reporting for FRONTLINE shows about the virus’s toll on workers at farms and meatpacking plants, the lack of federally required COVID-19 protections for agriculture workers, and why workers who are undocumented have been fearful to speak out: “Even if you're called essential, you can still potentially be deported.” For more, watch COVID’s Hidden Toll — the latest installment in FRONTLINE’s award-winning body of work exposing the hidden realities facing low-wage immigrant workers in the U.S. (Rape in the Fields, Rape on the Night Shift, Trafficked in America). The documentary is supported by Chasing the Dream.
How a drug company made millions pushing an opioid painkiller up to 100x stronger than morphine, as many on Wall Street looked the other way. FRONTLINE filmmaker Tom Jennings and Financial Times reporter Hannah Kuchler discuss their new investigation of Insys Therapeutics — from a jaw-dropping interview with a former sales director who admits to bribing doctors to prescribe the highly addictive drug Subsys, to how Wall Street propelled Insys’ success even as questions emerged about its practices, to what role drug companies’ pursuit of profits hasplayed in the opioid crisis: “I think that it's really interesting just how people are able to disconnect their actions from the consequences, especially in business,” Kuchler says. With federal prosecutors using laws designed to catch mob bosses, Insys would ultimately become the first pharmaceutical company to have its top executives sentenced to prison time in connection with the opioid epidemic. For more on Insys’ spectacular rise and fall — and its consequences — watch the documentary Opioids, Inc. from FRONTLINE and the FT, and read our in-depth joint reporting — also available at  ft.com/insys. Correction: An earlier version of this description misstated the strength of Insys’s painkiller.
Days before an expected verdict in her trial, Philippine journalist Maria Ressa speaks out about reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal drug war — and then becoming a high-profile target of his government’s crackdown on the press.   As she faces potential prison time on cyber libel charges, the co-founder and CEO of the independent Philippine news site Rappler tells FRONTLINE how she’s preparing, discusses her reporting on Duterte, and says that her conviction about what she does is undaunted: “I'm just walking forward, step by step by step, certain in the values and the principles that we are following and knowing that we are doing the right thing.” For more on Duterte’s drug war, watch FRONTLINE’s On the President’s Orders. And for more from Ressa, read FRONTLINE’s interview with her for The Facebook Dilemma, in which she discusses her reporting on how Duterte weaponized the platform to target his critics and spread disinformation. Plus: Stay tuned for the forthcoming documentary A Thousand Cuts, featuring Ressa’s story, which will see a summer theatrical release and a fall FRONTLINE broadcast. 
As streets across America erupt into clashes over racism during the coronavirus pandemic, Jelani Cobb of The New Yorker examines a connection between George Floyd's death and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 deaths among African Americans: "the thing that ties them together is empirical evidence of a phenomenon that had been dismissed otherwise.”  Cobb describes how the relationship between black Americans and the police has become a "barometer" for race relations in the country, drawing on his years of covering explosive tensions that he says are “overwhelmingly” in response to an issue of police use of force. "…Once you looked at the way that policing functioned, it was almost an indicator of the way lots of other institutions were functioning in those communities.” And yet, he says that this time — as the nation battles a highly infectious outbreak — the outrage is spreading in a way that seems different. For more from Jelani Cobb and FRONTLINE, watch 2016's "Policing the Police": now streaming on YouTube, on the PBS Video App and online.
As COVID-19 has spread, so, too, have misinformation and conspiracy theories about the virus — amplified by figures like Alex Jones, and proliferating on social media and even at the highest levels of government. Veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk, who was already making a documentary about the rise of conspiracy theories in American politics when the pandemic hit, shares what he’s learned about how such  theories have become central to understanding the nation’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. .”There's been a concerted effort, now that everything is moved from the fringe to the center, to knock down knowledge-based information,” Michael says. “And all of a sudden, a large number of Americans simply do not believe what they're being told. And that's where we find ourselves now.”
In the Bronx, as the coronavirus is disproportionately killing black and Latino people, COVID-19 is swelling the ranks of the dead — and also upending how loved ones grieve. Reporter Anjali Tsui goes inside a family-owned funeral home in the NYC borough to discover the outbreak's toll on the community. As one grieving woman reflects, "When people die, they need to be celebrated and there is no celebration of life right now. It’s like people are just disappearing."
A Midnight Rescue

A Midnight Rescue

2020-05-0222:571

As COVID-19 ran rampant through the adult care facility, family members struggled to learn the truth of how the coronavirus outbreak was hitting their loved ones. Reporter Joaquin Sapien takes us inside the story of a daughter’s midnight rescue of her father from Queens Adult Care Center, which he says is in an area that became “the epicenter of the epicenter” of the outbreak in New York. Natasha Roland describes rushing her father from the facility to a hospital, where he tested positive for COVID-19 — though not long before she'd been told he was safe and that the center had no cases. The Queens Adult Care Center, for its part, disputes Roland's account, and says it has taken "extensive precautions to ensure the well-being of each of its residents and employees." Listen to the full story. Queens Adult Care Center was the subject of a story and short film co-published by FRONTLINE and ProPublica in April 2020. Read and watch HERE. Sapien first encountered the facility in reporting he did for FRONTLINE and ProPublica’s 2019 documentary,Right to Fail. Now streaming on the PBS Video App and online.
Native American communities were already dealing with underfunded health services. Then the coronavirus outbreak began. Journalist Antonia Gonzales, herself a member of the Native community, reports from New Mexico — where Navajo Nation, one of the largest tribes in the country, has seen a higher rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases than most states. And Gonzales finds that tribes say their requests for federal help are being ignored.
What the feud between President Trump and Washington Gov. Inslee reveals about federal-state tensions in the coronavirus fight. In his conversation with Gov. Inslee, FRONTLINE correspondent Miles O’Brien discovers that “what should be a partnership with the federal government is like this hostile relationship.”  Inslee describes a scenario in which states are left competing with each other for scarce resources: “We are searching the world for every potential warehouse that has any of this personal protective equipment… and states are bidding against one another,” he tells O’Brien. “It would be much more efficient, economically and otherwise, if the federal government was playing a more vigorous role.” Listen to the podcast now, and stay tuned for O’Brien’s documentary Coronavirus Pandemic, premiering April 21, which explores the differing responses to the coronavirus outbreak in Washington D.C. and Washington State — where the first known U.S. case of COVID-19 was detected.
Inside the Trump administration’s coronavirus response — and missed opportunities to contain COVID-19 before it was too late. Correspondent Martin Smith speaks with global health experts about warnings to the White House that went unheeded, including a health policy expert who said his 2019 study pointing to the threat of a pandemic was met with silence. As he investigates how the crisis unfolded in the U.S., Smith finds: “There's a lot of unknowns as to who dropped the ball and when. It's clear that at the top, and I mean by that the president, the wrong messages were being given.”
As schools close to help stem the spread of COVID-19, what happens to kids who rely on school meals to eat? FRONTLINE producer Jezza Neumann reports from Athens, Ohio — where school buses are now delivering meals to students in need. And, as Jezza discovered, some teachers are personally taking meals to those in areas too remote for buses to reach. “Everybody just wants these kids to be fed,” Jezza says. But he’s finding that with each passing week, the coronavirus heightens food scarcity — and the children he speaks with are acutely aware of the risk of hunger that lies before them.
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Comments (10)

Paul Schoenbaum

should have received more time than street criminals.....just not right!

Jun 24th
Reply

Karen Browning

Gov Inslee complaining that the White House isn't doing enough and that they're on their own. I don't see what the problem is; Washington state is weathering this storm better than, say, NYC. This unbalanced, uncurious, lazy propaganda. Not journalism.

Apr 17th
Reply (1)

Venice Lockjaw

why do new episodes take so long to upload to castbox? The new episode is already out on the front line website but not on castbox

Mar 22nd
Reply

Michael Ronan

mormon?

May 1st
Reply

Andy Laurenzi

why not look into code regulations. some towns have no code requirements and seem to do fine. is there any flexilbility on code based on income. codes are necessary but largely inflexible and bound by bureaucrats in bureaucracy

Dec 31st
Reply

Hudithi

Full of forgery and twisting facts. Sad music in background with a voice full of falsifications of reality are not helping the Yemenis ppl case.

Nov 3rd
Reply

WatchDawg

it is the end of the story, at least the end of listening to your waffle.

Jun 23rd
Reply

WatchDawg

You folks seem to try and sound like there is a fair balance to each story. It's like you are liars.

Jun 23rd
Reply

Dolores Millay

Loved the in-depth investigation into child marriage in the U.S. Eager for future episodes.

Sep 15th
Reply
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