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

Compared to most TV "reports" about the candidates, this Frontline was by far much closer to fair and balanced in it's presentation of the only two men who may become our next president.

Frontline was subtlely biased in the choice of certain descriptive terms, but in general this was more fair than the media usually has been in recent years.
I was pleasantly surprised by this.

Clearly this was not a "position piece"
as it did not discuss issues directly at all. As a result one of the most vital parts of these two candidates personalities was missed, their consistancy or lack of on their positions on issues and how they make decisions.

It is clear that Al Gore has flip-flopped on virtually all major issues since he left Congress to become more "PC" and aligned with Clinton's views and the views of the Democratic party leadership.

While GW Bush has remained very consistant in his views and in his approach to decisions even when those decisions are unpopular. GW Bush has even gone against the views of his own party to remain true to his own core beliefs.

I find the trait of consistancy to be a vital factor in selecting our leaders, without consistancy in behavior we can't have any idea who we are really voting for.

Mike Trainer
Mtn. View, California

Dear FRONTLINE

Like many of your viewers, I was shocked and dismayed by the obvious bias of your program on Bush and Gore. You dwelt obsessively on Gore's use of marijuana, ignoring Bush's heavy involvement with cocaine and alcohol; and you portrayed Gore as a man who doesn't know who he is or what he wants, while Bush was portrayed as strong and sure of himself--a born leader. This bias is very troubling for a station that has long prided itself on fairness. And, by the way, why was there no mention of Bush's numerous shady dealings in the oil business? One crooked deal after another, where he walked away with hundreds of thousands of dollars and the public bailed him out!

david levin
evanston, illinois

Dear FRONTLINE

I tuned into your program last night hoping for an intelligent, reasoned examination of both candidates' history and how their respective experiences shaped them and their stand on the issues. What I saw instead was a mainly unflattering portrait of both men's youthful indiscretions, choices, and motivations that somehow segued into a continuation of criticisms against Gore's personality and political actionsas told by people who seemed less than 'friendly' to him leaving, it seemed, no stone unturned. However, Bush's political actions in his Ranger, post-Ranger years were entirely glossed over and even praised as told by his campaign colleagues and cronies.

Why no mention of Bush's highly questionable land dealings regarding the purchase and sale of the Rangers and the the new stadium? Why not a single mention of the 'bonus' of millions of dollars given to him by 'grateful' co-owners when the team went up for sale? This while he was governor. ... You call yourselves journalists? The public deserves better than this.

... fascinating as the subject may be for prurient reasons, I don't really care that these men took drugs, womanized or notin their youth. Heaven forbid we should all be held to task for immature, un-forward thinking actions taken in our youth. However, I do care to get all the facts about choices made by the mature, fully formed, rational, decision-making 'adult' running for the highest public office in the land.

Linda C.

Dear FRONTLINE

I was very impressed with your program on MOnday evening. Flipping threw the channels it caught my eye and kept it.
It was nice seeing the human side, as well as the steps each have taken in their life to get to where they are.

Not truly realizing that Bush has been involved himself in politics for such a short time with little time spent gaining factual background and acquiring the much need knowledge given from advisors,as you reported, other than their opinions, has definitely helped my decision. Thank you for such a well done bio.

Deborah Goldenberg

Dear FRONTLINE

This was undoubtably one of the most biased Frontline programs I have ever watched. I will no longer consider Frontline a source of competent investigative reporting, but rather a platform used to dishonestly promote specific agendas--in this instance--the GOP candidate. My donations to PBS, or lack thereof, will reflect my opinion.

Dan Hight

Dear FRONTLINE

I realize you get your funding from the Republican Congress but your bias is so overt I feel embarassed for "Frontline" who used to be the standard for investigative television journalism.

For this report you were an apologist and propagandist for Bush while totally ignoring any of Bush's documented business dealings that call his character into question. For example, while on the boards of one of the oil companies that Bush took part in, he was told that the company was in terrible shape and likely to fail. What did Bush do? He sold all of his stock in the company a week before the stockholders were told about the companies dire condition. He made big bucks, the investors lost millions. Is this event not important enough to report?

You portrayed Bush's involvement with the Rangers as the point which Bush became a self made man. But if you take a look at how the land was obtained for the stadium and how Bush made a 2000% profit on the backs of the Arlington tax payers it isn't quite the inspirational turning point in Bush's life that you make it out to be.
While you spent a great deal of time rationalizing and being an apologist for Bush's personal problems, you didn't hesitate to appoint yourself as Gore's psychiatrist. You portrayed Gore as having had a dark psychological cloud over him since childhood. According to you, Gore's motivation for running for President is a product of deep psychological unrest that he is yet to overcome. If there any positive things said about Gore, you could probably count them on one hand.
I'm not a fan of Al Gore, I don't know whether I'm going to vote for him.
I used to be a fan of "Frontline" but this show just affirms my suspicions that "Frontline" has been corrupted in their political reporting. This also effects my overall opinion of "Frontline." After seeing how skewed and blatantly biased you are on this topic it makes it very difficult for me to take "Frontline's" reporting of other unrelated topics, seriously.
You have an agenda, you are a part of the sad, cynical, and corrupt process that has become American politics. I'll never be able to watch "Frontline" again with the same trust that I once had; you're too unreliable.

John Wing Wo
Sacramento, CA

Dear FRONTLINE

Congratulations on an excellent show! I was pleased to finally see an accurate reflection of Al Gore's life and political career. If people find the show biased on Gore, they may be reacting to the reality that Al Gore's actual life does not live up to his manufactured image.

It is better to understand and reflect on what the real man is like before voting him into office. Didn't we learn anything from our last president? Keep up the good work!!

Steve Tomanovich

Dear FRONTLINE

Dear Frontline,

I have read many of the messages you have received regarding your program entitled "Choice 2000". I understand many of the complaints, however I do strongly believe that you were very objective in portraying the candidates and their lives. I viewed the program with a open mind hoping to obtain a more clear perspective of the candidates. You were successful in allowing me to accomplish that.

I agree that if you spent so much time on the issue of Gore's indiscretions regarding drug use that you should have did the same with Bush. It seems obvious to me, and I don't believe it was your goal, that Gore is much heavier in qualification to be the president of the United States. Although both men have some similarities in their upbringing it is quite obvious to me that candidate Bush has lived a life preference and entitlement and bailouts and hasn't endured the political struggles of Gore.

Your program did cause me to view Bush in a more favorable light, however it is evident to me that he is a lightweight in comparison to Gore.

Rodney Newell

Dear FRONTLINE


Last night's program should be included in all Journalism Schools' Propaganda courses as a prime example of
how to influence opinion subtly through the use of adjectives, anecdotes chosen, visuals the Texas Rangers as the team that couldn't shoot straight BEFORE Bush took the helm and the tranquil scene at Yale in the 60s vs Harvard turmoil, and persons interviewed the discredited Dick Morris for goodness sake & all Bush's buddies & family friends. You really did a number on Gore. What balance! Obviously the Right's influence on PBS has paid off big time in your program.

Janet Kersten

Dear FRONTLINE

I learned a lot about both candidates. It was fascinating. Clearly my first impression is correct: Gore has considered our long-term future and is working towards it. Bush's energies are in his wallet and with the rich. Such thinking is very short-sighted; cheap energy leads to high energy use, which gives us a bad balance of trade. Ultimately, the US Dollar will lose its power to resist inflation and we will share the world's economic troubles.
Gore has proven himself as an effective streamliner of government sorely needed. He has meaningful goals as his book describes and is serious about reaching them definitely a President for the 2000's! Bush is always grinning and crossing-palms. No, Gore may not smile much, but when he does I'm sure it will mean something good.

Judy Wright
Bethehem, PA

Dear FRONTLINE

How very disappointed I was in your broadcast, "Choice 2000." Being a veteran viewer of past election profiles aired by PBS, this was more A&E BIOGRAPHY than the usually probing FRONTLINE. The tone was set early for each candidate; Al Gore,dark, brooding, but malleable...

George W. Bush whose claim to fame appears to be that he is forgiven all failure because he is "feisty". Huh? Surely, there is something more substantive to reveal about these two men...or is PBS falling to the ranks of catering to the Lowest Common Denominator...

Teresa Roy
Evansville, IN

Dear FRONTLINE

I unfortunately was unable to view the whole program, but the portion that I did see although not perfect, seemed to me, to at least make an attempt to strike a balance in covering both Candidates.

I think the public is so used to seeing the media painting a pleasent picture of the liberal wing of Candidates and villainizing the conservative one's that this view is probably a little shocking. I also think that the public is not ready to see politicians as human beings that have ambitions and charactor flaws that make them so.

George Brown
Edgewood, New Mexico

Dear FRONTLINE

I should note that I am not particularly pleased with the two presidential candidates we have the ones that are electable. I am concerned about Gore's propensity to stretch the truth and Bush's lack of depth.

The Frontline profiles of the two candidates helped clarify some questions and concerns I had about both Gore and Bush, though, and I feel like whatever choice I make will be much more informed.

Ruth Crozier

Dear FRONTLINE

This program was as good as anything Ken Burns spent years putting together!

You captured Gore's single minded pursuit of the office and his willingness to be an accomplice to Clinton's immorality in order to achieve his own ends. While no one thinks Bush is a rocket scientist, he has been a successful businessman, and it's about time we put someone in the Oval Office who has done something other than feed at the public trough for most of his adult life.

Barbara Crouse

Dear FRONTLINE

Although I enjoyed your show, I was disappointed with the lack of definition of candidates positions on the issues. This was a biography more suited to a&e than PBS.

Personalities and life experiences are important parts of "Choice 2000" but positions on issues, visions for the future, and ideas about the role of government far more important.

daniel munnelly
boston, ma

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