the choice 2004 [home]
homeleadershipgeorge w. bushjohn f. kerrydiscussion

Dallas Morning News · Ed Bark

"…The Choice" … is far more filmic and nuanced than some of the clip-jobs you may have seen on cable news networks. Much of the archival footage is revelatory….

…We'll soon have a verdict. Follow the evidence in 'The Choice 2004' for an uncommonly rich understanding of these two disparate politicians."

New York Times · Alessandra Stanley

"…It is not until well into the two-hour film that 'The Choice 2004' presents less familiar, and more rewarding material. It takes well-known episodes in each candidate's career, moments that network and cable news shows have shrunk down to 10-second sound bites, and blown them back into context.

...'Frontline' is not saucy or hip, but it does a comprehensive, compelling job of tracing just how deeply rooted the differences between the two men really are."

Newsday · Noel Holston

"...The Choice, by dispassionately assessing everything from the candidates' service records to their willingness to question their own decisions, tells us more about who these two men are than their campaign films, their political ads or the debates."

Wall Street Journal · Dorothy Rabinowitz

"…The film … offers a sustained examination of a subject to which the Kerry campaign has devoted conspicuously little attention, namely the candidate's Senate history - particularly his opposition to any American military action. ... Still, it very soon becomes clear this film offers George Bush's handlers significantly more occasions for wincing - or would, if most of those occasions didn't concern already well-known and chewed-over matters….

…An absorbing, adroitly written film (Nicholas Lemann, reporter) whose last line, at least - 'Soon it will all be over'- should lift hearts on all sides in this memorably bitter election season."

New York Post · Adam Buckman

"…the biographical sketches contain nothing new, although they are notable for the blatant way they canonize John Kerry and demonize George Bush. Kerry the Good is depicted as a brilliant earnest public servant who did duty in Vietnam and then came out of that war on the right side of that issue--against it. And Bush the Evil comes across as a ne'er-do-well, good- time Charlie turned religious zealot who would never have been elected Texas governor, then president, without resorting to dirty tricks…."

Detroit Free Press

"…Another superb and vital edition of television's finest news documentary series."

Salt Lake Tribune · Vince Horiuchi

"… a no-frills, evenhanded analysis of both men -- their wartime records, their professional successes and failures, and their personal frailties. It aims to give viewers more of what they need to know to make an informed decision on Nov. 2, but does that without propaganda, half-truths and half-cocked conspiracy theories. 'The Choice 2004' deftly conveys that a clear choice is exactly what we have on Election Day. This smart documentary might make that selection a little bit easier."

Denver Post · Joanne Ostrow

"The quadrennial PBS special, 'The Choice,' is a highlight of the election cycle. This year's installment ... is no exception. ... Dispiriting, enlightening, and revealing. ..."

Seattle Times · Kay McFadden

"…While 'The Choice 2004' balances the time and attention devoted to these two men, the decision to use Vietnam as a framing device for the current conflict takes us deeper into Kerry's mindset than that of the 43rd president. Implicitly, he starts to look better than Bush - or certainly more profound. ...

… for a profile, something's missing here. The program barely touches on Bush's born again conversion and his insistent identification with heartland Texans rather than the East Coast aristocracy. … If George W. Bush has the psychic equivalent of a Rosetta stone in his background, 'The Choice 2004' has failed to find it. ..."

New York Daily News · David Bianculli

"…Even when the insights are not fresh, the impartial perspective is, and that's what makes this concurrent biography a must-see for anyone old enough to vote -- or care."

Boston Globe · Sam Allis

"…'The Choice 2004' feels late. It breaks no new ground. We already know about the trajectories of Bush and Kerry from Yale to the military and on to their respective ascents to power. …Too bad, because 'The Choice' is a strong program -- well reported, written, and produced -- that would've been a humdinger last spring. …

…The great strength of 'The Choice' is its definition of each man in terms of his position on Iraq, the issue that, in turn, defines the campaign. We follow the tortured nuances of Kerry on the subject and the disturbing clarity of Bush, who loses no sleep over any of these decisions. …"

Newark Star Ledger · Matt Zoller Steiz

"This is a fascinating, illuminating special."

Seattle Post-Intelligencer · Melanie McFarland

"A welcome relief from network news' largely useless point-counterpoint reports. ... Many of us have already made up our minds by now, which makes the special most useful to those hotly pursued undecided voters. If you consider yourself among that number, this is required viewing. Then again, if you're among the throngs engaged to a candidate without being wholeheartedly committed, 'The Choice' may be exactly what you need to solidify your decision."

Rocky Mountain News · Dusty Saunders

" fascinating television from at least two perspectives. …The two hours ... provide, by far, the most complete study of the two candidates. ..."

home · introduction · george w. bush · john f. kerry · what makes a good president?
interviews · links · join the discussion · producer's chat · press reaction · tapes & transcripts · credits · privacy policy
teacher's guide · plan a campus event · FRONTLINE home · wgbh · pbsi

posted oct. 12, 2004

FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of wgbh educational foundation.
some photos copyright © corbis
web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation