It was terrific! Sensitive, interesting, good photography. I have no quarrel with the happy ending, but did wonder what happened to the rest of "the family." What are the UNHAPPY endings like?
Thanks for a good show.
The program that you aired which detailed the lives of some homeless people in New York was at once depressing and uplifting. It has prompted me to renew my committment to helping those who live without the comforts of a home in my city, San Francisco. Thank you for such an honest portrayal of a daily reality many of us try to forget.
Your presentation of the "Begging Game" on Frontline of Dec 19 1995 reminded me of how often we pass street people who seem to be faceless entities, devoid of identity or personality. They are there but we often wish they were not, pretending they do not exist. You brought out the struggles to survive, to maintain an existence, however subsistant. You have shown that under other circumstances some of these people might not be as they are.
I applaud the fact that you did not portray false sympathy for your subjects, but gave them the dignity they deserve. After seeing the presentation, I thought " There, but for the Grace of God, go I."
Thank you for the interesting program. But I got the feeling that the program was trying to give the impression that feigning was was an integral part of panhandling; that the white lies they told to stay alive were treacherous. I agree that lying is an integral part of begging, to a certain extent, but fail to see how it differs from the manner in which some "respectable" institutions sell their products to us these days.
To those people who were taught at childhood that only pure hard work should be rewarded, and that giving alms would encourage a class of derelicts, I wish to make a point...Pan-handling will never proliferate if patronized, because unlike Hugh Heffner, who capitalizes on the baser instincts of humans, or General Dynamics that profits on destruction, the old lady with the paper cup and the man in the wheel chair try to make money off emotions that are scarce among human beings - EMPATHY and GENEROSITY. Please put programs such as this in the proper perspective. Compare it to the way the rest of us earn our daily bread...Remember that the people you analyzed do not have politicians or the media to support their cause. Worse crimes are being committed every day in the U.S.; Why hunt down the weakest?
The only thing worse than poverty is INSENSITIVITY to it!
I recently saw your program on the homeless. I was touched by Teresa's story. I feel for the homeless but since I am not on their place I can't judge them. One thing that did upset me was the story of the young girl that was panhandling money for her mother who was on dialysis. I was hurt that she would lie the way she did and feel good about herself. She was 17 she is old enough to get a job afterschoo. I feel that she was a sell out. She had no self esteem level.
I was also very bothered by most of the homeless people that were panhandling always had a smoke in their hand and a bottle in the other.
I am 17 yrs old and go to high school and have a after school that I have for a year. So I know that it is possible to have a job and go to school.
I watched your program and saw the E-mail address and I wanted to write and tell you what I thought.
I was moved by your recent documentary on the street people in New York City. I am upset that I missed the first few minutes of it, but as soon as I flipped to PBS, I was hooked. I am extremely impressed by the exstensive interviews with these people and the in-depth research that was done on their backgrounds. The follow up information was also well done with "Teresa" and her street "family". I think this piece was fascinating, realistic, unbiased and informative.
Everyone seems to have a different opinion on the homeless situation and how it can be alleviated, but without this kind of in-depth research, people are not creating well informed ideas. I think it would be benificial for the American people and American political leaders especially to see this documentary on national television. Congratulations on a job well done!
Well, unfortunately at best an adequately-done Frontline.
I got the impression of a real superficiality in the reportage on this one. When dealiing with people panhandling, one MUST at some point confront - that's right - confront the issue of deceit. It WAS done in this story, but in a very irresolute manner. Sure, the reporter (i apologize i did not check the credits for her name) did, in a couple of instances mention that "a story didn't check out" or that "they actually live in this comfortable high-rise". But the confrontation was perfunctory: "We didn't find you on record as undergoing dialysis at New York Hospital. Why do you suppose?" Reply: "I dunno." Next issue. Hardly driving interrogatory, in my view. Granted, the interviewees were likely skittish and liable to bolt if pressed, but the pressure should have been advanced.
The issue of deceit by beggars/panhandlers/whatever is probably the core of the homeless situation in America today. Too many are seen as con-men, crooks, liars, no-goodniks that simply don't want to work. Therefore real people in need are neglected and rebuffed by basically honest people whose resources of money and empathy are limited, and whose patience with being taken advantage of has likely already been abused. By neglecting to confront this issue, the producers of this piece defaulted on the potential impact of their work.
Sorry, but I'd give it a C-.
Last evening, I watch Frontline for the first time.
My sincere compliments on your balanced and informative show. I have often wondered who the homeless people were, and how they got there.