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FRONTLINE: Money, Power And Wall Street, Parts One & Two

Airs Friday, May 4, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Occupy Wall Street protesters rally, New York City, Nov. 2011.

Since 2008, Wall Street and Washington have fought against the tide of the fiercest financial crisis since the Great Depression. What have they wrought? In a special four-hour investigation, FRONTLINE tells the inside story of the struggles to rescue and repair a shattered economy, exploring key decisions, missed opportunities, and the unprecedented and uneasy partnership between government leaders and titans of finance that affects the fortunes of millions of people around the world.

A trader reacts as the market drops, New York Stock Exchange, Feb. 2009.
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Above: A trader reacts as the market drops, New York Stock Exchange, Feb. 2009.

Part one airs Friday, April 27 at 9 p.m. (this first part originally aired on Tuesday, April 24) - FRONTLINE tells the epic story of the rise of modern finance. A revolution in banking begins at a luxury hotel in Boca Raton, Florida, where a rowdy team from J. P. Morgan invents a new marketplace for trading risk.

Correspondent Martin Smith ("College, Inc.," "The Madoff Affair") interviews leading bankers, officials and journalists to explain how financial engineering on Wall Street brought the global economy to its knees—and the reverberations are still being felt along Main Street.

Immediately following, in hour two, FRONTLINE producer Michael Kirk ("Inside the Meldown," "The Warning") investigates how the country’s leaders failed to prevent an oncoming crisis and ended up initiating the largest government bailout in history.

Told by participants from Washington and Wall Street, the story includes inside accounts from the campaign of presidential candidate Barack Obama. By the time of his election Obama is thoroughly up to speed on the disaster, but the question remains—what can he do once he takes office?

U.S. President Barack Obama with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
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Above: U.S. President Barack Obama with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Part two will repeat on Friday, May 4 at 9 p.m. (part two originally aired Tuesday, May 1 at 10 p.m.) - The second part opens with Barack Obama taking office in the midst of the worst economic crisis in 80 years. To the surprise of many, he adopts a strategy to help the very Wall Street firms that plunged the American economy into chaos.

FRONTLINE goes inside the White House to meet the key figures locked in a fierce debate over the administration’s game plan and follows those who said they had no choice but to rescue Wall Street. Did they choose the right course?

In the last hour, FRONTLINE probes into a Wall Street culture that remains focused on making risky trades. Bankers left an ugly trail of deals extending from small American cities to European capitals.

For more than three years, regulators have tried to fix an industry steeped in conflicts of interest, excessive risk taking, and incentives to cheat. New rules and regulations are being written, but can they fend off the next crisis?

FRONTLINE is on Facebook, and follow @frontlinepbs on Twitter.

Video

Preview: Frontline: Money, Power And Wall Street

Your browser does not support this object. Content can be viewed at actual source page: http://video.kpbs.org/video/2218309368

Watch Money, Power and Wall Street on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Above: Since 2008, Wall Street and Washington have fought against the tide of the fiercest financial crisis since the Great Depression. What have they wrought? In a special four-hour investigation, FRONTLINE tells the inside story of the struggles to rescue and repair a shattered economy, exploring key decisions, missed opportunities, and the unprecedented and uneasy partnership between government leaders and titans of finance that affects the fortunes of millions of people around the world.

Video

Frontline: “The Moment Is Now” to Break Up Big Banks

Your browser does not support this object. Content can be viewed at actual source page: http://video.kpbs.org/video/2218309385

Watch A Financial Crisis Will Happen Again on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Above: Dodd-Frank proposes to solve this problem by giving the government “resolution authority” to dismantle a big bank, but Fisher suggests a better solution is to not allow banks to get so big.