Statement from FRONTLINE on “Bigger Than Vegas”

FRONTLINE and Lowell Bergman have had a long and productive working relationship. We respect that past work and our many successful investigations and collaborations.   Unfortunately, he is now mischaracterizing the long and difficult process that led to our decision to cancel the broadcast of Bigger Than Vegas earlier this year. He is suggesting that we acted out of fear of litigation from powerful entities.

To be clear: our reasons for cancelling the film were editorial. We don’t normally comment on our internal editorial process, but we tried over many iterations to reach an acceptable final edit. We postponed the broadcast twice because we didn’t believe it was ready, including finding out about serious factual issues less than two weeks before air last fall.

This was a complicated film about a difficult subject – the alleged influence of organized crime on gambling in Macau, in particular on American casino operators. Despite more time, Lowell and his team were not able to provide strong enough sourcing and reporting to support key elements of the film. In the end we had to make a difficult decision about whether the film as constructed met our editorial standards. It did not.

For over three decades FRONTLINE has never shied away from taking on hard subjects with litigious participants, including stories we’ve done with Lowell Bergman. This was no exception. But this time, unfortunately, the film did not live up to the journalistic obligations to accuracy, fairness and proof that FRONTLINE demands.

David Fanning, Executive Producer
Raney Aronson, Deputy Executive Producer

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