Dig Deeper: What You Need to Know About the Financial Crisis
Follow @azmatzahraApril 20, 2012, 6:12 pm ET
Amid the fiercest financial crisis since the Great Depression, FRONTLINE has been at the forefront of investigating the roots of the meltdown, the hidden stories of those who warned about what was to come and the lessons moving forward.
Over the next two weeks, we’ll continue the story in our four-hour special, Money, Power and Wall Street — watch a preview above. The film goes inside the struggles to rescue and repair a shattered economy, exploring key decisions, missed opportunities and the unprecedented and uneasy partnership between government leaders and titans of finance.
Until then, here’s some of the best of our reporting on the financial crisis.
The Warning [October 2009]
“I didn’t know Brooksley Born. I was told that she was irascible, difficult, stubborn, unreasonable.” Former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt
In The Warning, FRONTLINE unearths the hidden history of the nation’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. At the center of it all is Brooksley Born, the head of an obscure federal regulatory agency — the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC] — who not only warned of the potential for economic meltdown in the late 1990s, but also tried to convince the country’s key economic powerbrokers to regulate the secretive, multitrillion-dollar derivatives market, whose crash helped trigger the financial collapse in the fall of 2008. In The Warning, she speaks for the first time on television.
Inside the Meltdown [February 2009]
“Rumors are such that they can just plain put you out of business.” Bear Stearns’ former CEO “Ace” Greenberg
The sudden and complete financial meltdown of 2008 took most of America by surprise. How did it all go so bad, so quickly? Who is responsible? How effective has the response from Washington and Wall Street been? FRONTLINE goes inside the chain of events that set off the crisis, what key officials didn’t see, couldn’t stop and weren’t able to fix.
Breaking the Bank [June 2009]
“It just seemed to me that the conservative, right thing to do was take the [TARP] money. Little did I know the pain that would invoke…” Former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis
The merger of Bank of America, the nation’s largest bank, and Merrill Lynch in September 2008 was supposed to help save the American financial system by preventing the imminent Lehman Brothers bankruptcy from setting off a destructive chain reaction. But within days, the entire global financial system was collapsing. FRONTLINE reveals the story of two banks at the heart of the financial crisis, their rocky merger, and the government’s new role in taking over — some call it “nationalizing” — the American banking system.
Ten Trillion and Counting [March 2009]
“Here’s the fundamental problem: How much money can a society borrow before it begins to have negative effects on our ability to borrow any more?” Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill
All of the federal government’s efforts to stem the tide of the financial meltdown have added hundreds of billions of dollars to an already staggering national debt. FRONTLINE traces the politics behind this mounting debt and investigates what some say is a looming crisis that makes the current financial situation pale in comparison.
The Card Game [November 2009]
“It’s almost as if 15 years ago, the industry discovered that you could make money off of the most vulnerable people in America over and over, and that would be the business model.” The Center for Responsible Lending CEO Martin Eakes
In a joint project with The New York Times, FRONTLINE investigates the future of the massive consumer loan industry and its impact on a fragile national economy, as credit card companies face rising public anger, new regulation from Washington and staggering new rates of default and bankruptcy. We talk to industry insiders, lobbyists, politicians and consumer advocates as they square off over attempts to reform the way the industry has done business for decades.
The Wall Street Fix [May 2003]
“When Congress sees these scandals taking place … they become the latter-day Elmer Gantrys, protecting investors that they had abused so badly before.” Former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt
Years before the financial crisis, FRONTLINE went inside the culture of Wall Street and the world of investment banking, investigating the hidden relationships between the Street’s biggest bank, Citigroup, and the bubble’s most spectacular failure, WorldCom to show how Wall Street drove the telecom boom, pocketing enormous profits, and then took millions of investors on a ride.
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