the choice 2000
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discussion: What are your reactions and thoughts to FRONTLINE'S The Choice 2000?  What do these portraits of the candidates tell us about their fitness for the presidency?  Are you happy with your choices in this year's election?

college students' reaction

Dear FRONTLINE

I am a teacher in Texas and know that George W. Bush has done nothing positive for the education in Texas. I am very aware that he has not done positive things toward the environment. His main concern has been to take Texas back in time instead of forward. Many Texans I know want G.W.B. to win because that would mean that he would LEAVE Texas.

Judy Thatch

Dear FRONTLINE

"The Choice 2000" was perhaps the best piece I have seen on these two candidates. Given the high stakes game they are playing today, I was fascinated and often amused by Bush and Gore's muddled pasts. I decided a while ago to vote for Ralph Nader, so I felt no sympathy for either Bush or Gore during your investigation.
This program confirmed my belief that Bush is often ignorant and too willing to trust someone else's opinions. I had thought Gore's bad habit of stretching the truth and hardcore spinning for political gain was a relatively recent problem, but I was surprised by how long he has been doing it. Even if that is not enough to cause voter distrust, Gore's connection to Clinton makes him a lame duck anyway. As problematic and embarrassing as it will be, I think Bush is going to end up in the White House. It is really too bad the United States is so unwilling to move beyond two party politics.
If only these "undecided" voters that reporters keep putting on television would see this show, maybe they would make up their minds.

Brent Krause
Green Bay, WI

Dear FRONTLINE


After reading the other comments I have a point that should be noted. People that feel that the show was anit-Gore are still missing what they may need to see. Isn't it possible that Gore's character IS as portrayed. I was uncertain on a candidate until I viewed the program and I was disgusted by Gore's use of his son's accident in an opening statement for a political parallelism. To use such a thing to create empathy for political gain was horrible. He demostrated this same manner when using his sister's battle with cancer. While Bush on the other hand, deserves respect for having convictions and faith in them like his difficult capital punishment decision for example.
Just because some truths are unlikable does not make it biased.
We are to decide who has the BEST ability to be president.

d. i.
cardiff, Ca

Dear FRONTLINE

It all boils down to this: you spent *15* minutes on the 90s. 15! I want to know about Bush and Gore in the past 10 years. I really could care less about anything else, with respect to the election. Talk about the campaigns, talk about their respective records. Just don't talk about anyone's "impishness." Ever. Again.

Benjamin Bowden
Lexington, KY

Dear FRONTLINE

I have read the comments of others, and I'm totally surprised that some of your viewers think you made either candidate look good. I lost respect for both men and feel frustrated that I must choose between either of them. I feel that your report was well balanced. Those who think you didn't point out George W. Bush's flaws should watch this program when it is rebroadcast.

P.F. Hatch
South Jordan, UT

Dear FRONTLINE

When I saw this program, I could hardly recongnize the Gov. Bush that I have been watching in Texas. The man seems to have been given much for doing very little. However, I thought, perhaps it was my bias showing. I have decided that it was instead your show's bias against Mr. Gore. The letters you have received attest to this. The usual complaints are seen from Mr. Gore's supporters, but are oddly lacking from those of Mr. Bush. They seem to think this was a sterling piece of unbiased journalism. I am sure the show's makers think the same. They are wrong and should reassess their attitudes.

Nick Matelan
Dallas, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE

I am impressed that you have been allowing Peter Boyer's unbiased, true journalism to flourish by airing his investigations and programs. I have come to look forward to his programs, and the Bush/Gore biographies were no exeption.

I read some of the other reactions, and noted that most of the liberal, left-wing respondents were unhappy with it and claimed it was biased, but I feel that they were just confirming what I felt had come through the report and the facts presented- namely, that Gore was a reluctant participant in politics, mostly forced in first by his father had to make up for his defeat in politics, then by Clinton making him an offer he couldn't refuse, so no wonder he is an unstable, ever-changing, "reed-in-the-wind" political animal without any substance, integrity, or maturity. If he ever does become "his own man", it will be when he walks away from politics to do whatever it is he really always wanted to do.

As for Bush, I'm not sure how conservative he really is, but, character-wise, including psychological/emotional stability, he seems very fit to be the leader of this great nation, and I'm inspired by him.

JEAN DAMON
MCKINLEYVILLE, CA

Dear FRONTLINE

I was very dismayed by this show. It was not up to Frontline's high standards of true investigative journalism and seemed little more than a tabloid piece filled with the mean spirited remarks of questionable characters. Where was the substance and where was the proof. I wanted to hear about the true accompishments of our two candidates.

Pat Rook
Huntington Beach, CA

Dear FRONTLINE

I am amazed at how many people believe that your program should reflect only their views, most of which are liberal left. That should tell you something about past programming and its apparent or assumed bias.

More importantly, what these comments relect is the general and overwhelming self-centeredness of our population, or at least of those who have access to the Internet. This is a reflection of, to use a term of the day, the unintended consequence of too much other-indulgence and self-absorption.

Our nation is at a cultural crossroads and we seem to have lost sight of what made us the greatest nation on earth and how that status is rooted in assuming one's just share of our responsibilities and our obligations. What most responses seem to state or imply is that the hand in the public trough Gore's Populism is better than the hand at the hoe Bush's Realism which cultivates the garden.

When we shall become a nation of mature adults? The only answer is when Bush becomes president!

Marion Anderson
Idaho Springs, CO

Dear FRONTLINE

I was most disturbed by the common trait of Bush and Gore - adopting positions on issues to be more electable. Gore flip-flops, like his boss. Bush having no opinion until talking to Bob Bullockyet willing to support and take credit for already decided issues. A question on your web site asks, who would do the right thing, even if it was unpopular? I'm not sure Gore nor Bush would have an opinion. That's one thing he's shown as our governor - Bush delegates well. I just wasn't aware it was due to lack of personal opinion.
Is there a write-in this year???

John Stapleton

Dear FRONTLINE

Read Mike Kopp's answer about Gore's proclivity for exagerration. What once was marijuana lies, big blue suit still is. It continues to this day Union label, dog's supposed pharmaceuticals, earth tones. He supports a man who is the shame of our country with statements that do not match the times "one of our greatest presidents". Bush is not Einstein or the main option few ever are, but I'll take character, truth, and conviction over ambition that was never latent and an ego out of control.

Jim Brown
Nashville, TN

Jim Brown
Nashville, TN

Dear FRONTLINE

I have to agree with many other respondents in that I have never seen a Frontline show that was so unabashedly BIASED. It frightens me that it was done in the manner of a true propagandist - by subtle inference, choice of adjectives, etc. I hardly expected this from PBS.

Just one example: nothing was mentioned about HOW George Bush won the Texas gubernatorial election against Ann Richards. Bush ran a TV ad, supposedly defending himself against negative comments made by Ann Richards, making himself look like the injured party. In fact, Richards had NOT made any negative remarks - this was just the campaign tactic of an unethical politician.

Judith Campbell

Dear FRONTLINE


Congrats on a great show. Its the first one I've seen that was really fair. I was surprised to see something like this on PBS as they seem to have more than their fair share of liberal pundits. Seems some people thought it was a bit unflattering to their candidate. Guess they will just have to be satisfied with having Gore be the darling of the rest of the media.

Linde Lucks
St. Louis, Missouri

Dear FRONTLINE

Thanks for the illuminating piece on both candidates. I thought you did a great job on bringing out the facts on Gore such as heavy pot use in college. You also clarified that you couldn't find anyone who ever saw Bush use cocaine. Nice job!

Mike Daum
Lockport, IL

Dear FRONTLINE

I was surprised to see how fair your program was. However, it did not shed much light on the candidates' covictions of pertinent issues; but I guess I'll get that in the debates.
Will this program be aired again soon, or is it already rescheduled? I missed part of it and many of our friends missed it completely.
I have read a lot of the comments and agree with some that the characteristic deep investigative reporting was missing, but it was none the less a very good program.

Mrs. Karin Zaragoza
Alexandria, LA

FRONTLINE's editors respond:

"The Choice 2000" will air again on October 17th on many stations, and again nationwide on November 6, the night before Election Day.

Dear FRONTLINE

Thank you! This was an example of journalism at its best. It's been a very long time since I have seen this kind of integrity in reporting and I've followed the political campaigns since the days of Harry Truman. I think your analysis was fair and equal to both candidates. That was not an easy task. Neither of these candidates would be my first choice, if I could make the choice, but I appreciate the details of each ones life that your program made available to us. Congratulations to all who made it possible-it should be an award winner but don't hold your breath, cause we don't judge on excellence any longer. Thank you!

PS I just moved to Texas from Ca. so didn't know very much about GW. You filled in a lot.

Dolores Di Silverio
New Braunfels, TX

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