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

blog comments powered by Disqus

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.



Frontline Journalism Fund

Supporting Investigative Reporting

Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, the Ford Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.

Privacy Policy   Journalistic Guidelines   PBS Privacy Policy   PBS Terms of Use   Corporate Sponsorship
FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation.
Web Site Copyright ©1995-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.