can you afford to retire

Student Handout

Questions for Viewing

Read these questions before viewing. As you watch the film, use this sheet to jot down notes about things you see that help you answer each question.

  1. What are "checks and balances" and why are they important in a democracy?
  2. Conservative media pundit Patrick Buchanan told FRONTLINE, "The battle between the White House and the national media is the battle over who controls the national agenda." In your view, who should control the national agenda? Should either institution have total control over the national agenda? Why or why not? How does each of these institutions (the government and the press) represent the public?
  3. Both The New York Times and The Washington Post printed stories about secret government programs. Why do some people see the papers' actions as patriotic while others think the publishers should be tried under the Espionage Act?
  4. Should the San Francisco Chronicle reporters who wrote about steroids in baseball be held to the same standards about revealing sources as reporters who write about national security issues? Why or why not?
  5. Given what you have seen in News War, describe the role of news media in a democracy.