FRONTLINE

Facebook and the 2016 Election | The Facebook Dilemma

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Consider whether Facebook bears responsibility for the rise of fake news and polarization seen during the 2016 U.S. presidential election in these videos excerpted from The Facebook Dilemma: FRONTLINE. Facebook had become a massive distributor of news in the years leading up to 2016. However, the company’s leadership didn’t regard itself as responsible for the accuracy of content posted to the site and did not take measures to edit any of it. As a consequence, false stories, many of them eventually traced to a small town in Macedonia, spread on its platform in the run-up to the 2016 election. With its algorithm determining which content would be most prominently displayed to which users, some argue Facebook played a significant role in the polarization of politics in America.

Gunned Down | Parents Push for Gun Control Blocked by NRA

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Discover how the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, prompted a bill that proposed requiring background checks at gun shows, and how the National Rifle Association (NRA) lobbied to ensure its defeat, in these video excerpts from FRONTLINE: Gunned Down. Despite negotiating at first with victims’ parents and Washington officials, the NRA was ultimately swayed by smaller but fervent gun-rights groups and denounced the legislation. In spite of wide public support for expanding background checks—including most NRA member households—the NRA threatened to withdraw its support for lawmakers who supported the legislation, and influenced enough of them to vote against the bill in Congress. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

Caution: Video 2, “Proposing a New Bill,” contains graphic images of a shooting. Video 3, “The Senate Votes,” contains descriptions of and discussions about a shooting.

Download teacher support materials for this resource: Teaching Tips  |  Student Handout  |  Background Essay  |  Video Transcript

Close or Support Failing Banks?

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This video adapted from FRONTLINE reviews the response to the banking crisis by President Obama during the early days of his presidency. A deepening financial crisis and outrage at large bonuses paid to bank executives created pressure on President Obama to take action against some of the major banks in the first weeks of his administration. While the administration considered a variety of responses, including nationalization of some banks, a meeting with leading bankers in March 2009 found the president taking a more cautious approach. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE collection.

The Working Poor in the Rust Belt | Left Behind America

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Go inside a food pantry and learn how the impact of the 2008 recession is still being felt in “Rust Belt” cities like Dayton, Ohio, where many rely on charities for food, in this digital video from FRONTLINE: Left Behind America. In Dayton’s postrecession economy, even working people struggle with poverty and food insecurity. While jobs have returned to the city of Dayton, workers are making less than they did before the recession and cannot afford to buy the groceries they need.

The Choice 2016: Beware of Washington

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Learn how the Washington, D.C. establishment’s response to the political role that Hillary Clinton had adopted as First Lady shaped her public image in this digital short from FRONTLINE’s “Choice” Moments. Although Bill Clinton had won the 1992 presidential election, Hillary Clinton would also play a powerful role in her husband’s administration. In leading the president’s healthcare task force, Mrs. Clinton appeared to refuse the advice given from some prominent members of society. Her critics attacked her, openly questioning Mrs. Clinton’s secretive policy efforts and making highly personal allegations against her and the president. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Election Resources Collection.

Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election | Putin’s Revenge

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Learn how the Russians interfered in the 2016 United States presidential election and why authorities think it happened, in these videos excerpted from Putin's Revenge: FRONTLINE. As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton squared off, Russian president Vladimir Putin took sides. Putin saw links to Russia and potential sympathies in Trump and his political advisers and still held resentment against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom he believed had meddled in a previous Russian election by ordering anti-Putin protests. Evidence shows that Putin orchestrated efforts to influence the U.S. election, using computer hacking to spread and amplify misinformation (“fake news”) and political polarization in the United States. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

Check out the Teaching Tips for FRONTLINE’s new Transparency Project.

Exodus: Refugees, in Their Own Words

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Explore why people are forced to leave their homeland through five compelling first-person stories in these videos excerpted from FRONTLINE: Exodus. Throughout history, people have sought freedom and economic opportunity in new places. Today, driven from home by war, oppression, and poverty, these refugees have joined thousands who undertake a perilous journey to face an uncertain future in a new land. 

FRONTLINE | Are Police Reforms Changing Cop Culture inside the LAPD?

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Follow a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) police officer as he tries to build relationships with the community in an approach known as “community policing,” in this video from FRONTLINE. After a major scandal in an anti-gang unit, the LAPD was forced in 2001 to reform under federal oversight. Hear from a community member who feels that the increased police presence as a result of community policing is leading to more tension and anxiety. Consider the challenges of trying to change the culture inside the LAPD, its interactions with the community, and the way the community responds. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Police Reform Collection.

Download teacher support materials for this resource: Teaching Tips  |  Student Handout  |  Vocabulary and Terms

Putin and the Press | Putin's Revenge

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Learn how Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to crack down on a television show that parodied government officials was a significant departure from his predecessor’s vision of Russia and had implications for the country’s future, in this video excerpted from Putin’s Revenge: FRONTLINE. Putin’s efforts to curtail the freedom of the press were part of a larger initiative to consolidate power and silence dissent. This resource is part of the FRONTLINE Collection.

Check out the Teaching Tips for FRONTLINE’s new Transparency Project.

Unintended Consequences of the 2003 U.S. Invasion of Iraq | Bitter Rivals

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Learn why the United States’ decision to invade Iraq in 2003 and topple its dictator Saddam Hussein had an unintended impact on the balance of power between the Sunnis and Shias in the region, in this video excerpted from FRONTLINE: Bitter Rivals. After the United States took control of Baghdad, its actions unwittingly empowered Shias in Iraq and prompted Sunni resistance to the U.S. occupation. First, American envoy Paul Bremer announced that members of Hussein’s Ba’ath Party, most of them Sunnis, would be banned from government service. Then, the Iraqi army was dissolved. These actions bolstered Shia political groups in Iraq, which shared close links to Iran’s leadership, and set the stage for a violent power struggle. This resource is part of the Frontline Collection.

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