Tuesday night, PBS’s Frontline premiered The Choice 2016, which purported to be a documentary examining the lives and careers of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It was not, in fact, an honest documentary. It was a savage hit piece, using a patina of documentary sobriety to hide its core dishonesty.
To appreciate just how awful it was, you have to know a bit about Frontline. It’s a long-running show that always focuses on very serious subjects. Whether at home or abroad, it’s viewpoint is hard Left, although it will never acknowledge that it has a bias. Indeed, to prove that it is unbiased, it is, as I said, very, very serious. It always has grim music and the regular narrator, Will Lyman, has the deep, slow, serious, mostly uninflected voice of an aspiring funeral home director. How can something be biased if it’s both serious and sober?
Nor am I exaggerating the effect its serious, sober quality has on receptive (i.e., Progressive) audiences. CNN was impressed by the fact that “Frontline soberly profiles Clinton, Trump in ‘The Choice’“:
Frontline is once again demonstrating how indispensable it is with “The Choice 2016,” a two-hour documentary that methodically chronicles the lives of presidential contenders Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
So many words have been devoted to the candidates that one could easily conclude there’s nothing much left to say. But “The Choice” adopted a parallel structure — oscillating between the two biographies — that proves illuminating as it cuts back and forth to highlight their paths from adolescence to, for one, the White House.
This sober endeavor stands in stark contrast to the coverage these candidates frequently receive in other broadcast venues. That’s especially true in primetime, during which network news magazines continue to tilt toward true crime and tawdry tales of missing persons and spouses killing each other.
In that regard, Frontline represents a dispassionate forum, but not a boring one — in productions such as this, neatly distilling complex issues down to their essence.
I have no doubt that CNN’s encomiums derive in large part because the show is a hagiography of Hillary Clinton and a hit piece against Donald Trump.
Well, I’ve watched the whole damn show and there’s nothing sober and balanced about it (although I did find it boring). The parallel structure is used to emphasize relentlessly Hillary’s good qualities and Donald’s bad ones. If you want to watch it yourself, be my guest. Otherwise, if you read on, you’ll see that I’ve summarized the whole show. Reading my summary will save two hours of your life and allow you to spend them in more enjoyable ways.