In a four-hour special, News War, FRONTLINE examines the political, cultural, legal, and economic forces challenging the news media today and how the press has reacted in turn. Through interviews with key figures in print, broadcast and electronic media over the past four decades -- and with unequaled, behind-the-scenes access to some of today's most important news organizations, FRONTLINE traces the recent history of American journalism, from the Nixon administration's attacks on the media to the post-Watergate popularity of the press, to the new challenges presented by the war on terror and other global forces now changing -- and challenging -- the role of the press in our society.
NEWS WAR: SECRETS, SOURCES & SPIN (Part I)
Airdate: Feb. 13, 2007, 9 pm (check local listings)
In part one of News War: Secrets, Sources & Spin, FRONTLINE examines the political and legal forces challenging the mainstream news media today and how the press has reacted in turn. Correspondent Lowell Bergman talks to the major players in the debates over the role of journalism in 2007, examining the relationship between the Bush administration and the press; the controversies surrounding the use of anonymous sources in reporting from Watergate to the present; and the unintended consequences of the Valerie Plame investigation -- a confusing and at times ugly affair that ultimately damaged both reporters' reputations and the legal protections they thought they enjoyed under the First Amendment.
NEWS WAR: SECRETS, SOURCES & SPIN (Part II)
Airdate: Feb. 20, 2007, 9 pm (check local listings)
Part two continues with the legal jeopardy faced by a number of reporters across the country, and the additional complications generated by the war on terror. Correspondent Lowell Bergman interviews reporters facing jail for refusing to reveal their sources in the context of leak investigations and asks questions on tough issues that now confront the editors of the nation's leading newspapers, including: how much can the press reveal about secret government programs in the war on terror without jeopardizing national security? FRONTLINE looks past the heated, partisan rhetoric to determine how much of this battle is politics and whether such reporting actually harms national security.
NEWS WAR: WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THE NEWS
Airdate: Feb. 27, 2007, 9 pm (check local listings)
The third hour of News War puts viewers on the front lines of an epic battle over the future of news. America's major network news divisions and daily newspapers are under siege, facing mounting pressure for profits from corporate owners, and growing challenges from cable television and the Internet, which are remaking the economics of the business and transforming the very definition of news. FRONTLINE talks to network executives, journalists, Wall Street analysts, bloggers, and key players at Google and Yahoo! who are all battling for survival and market dominance in a rapidly changing world of news. FRONTLINE also goes inside the embattled newsroom of The Los Angeles Times, one of the last remaining papers in the country still covering major national stories. Under severe pressure from Wall Street to cut costs and to compete for "eyeballs" in a new media world, editors at the paper are urgently trying to figure out what this means for their future news coverage and their public service mission.
NEWS WAR: STORIES FROM A SMALL PLANET
Airdate: March 27, 2007 (check local listings)
The fourth hour of News War looks at media around the globe to reveal the international forces that influence journalism and politics in the United States. The lead story focuses on the new Arab media and its role in both mitigating and exacerbating the clash between the West and Islam. With a focus on Al Jazeera and how it has changed the face of a parochial and tightly controlled Arab media, this hour explores Al Jazeera's growing influence around the world -- from Muslim communities in Europe to the pending launch of a new English-language service that will be broadcast in the United States.
Producer(s): Raney Aronson