FRONTLINE: Lies, Politics and Democracy
Premieres Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV + Thursday, Sept. 8 at 9 p.m. on KPBS 2 / PBS Video App
An epic examination of Trump’s influence on the Republican Party, the choices made by key players and party leaders, and the mounting threats to American democracy
This September, ahead of the 2022 midterm elections and amid continuing false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, FRONTLINE will begin its new season with the stunning, two-hour special premiere of “Lies, Politics and Democracy.”
From veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk and his award-winning team, the documentary is supported by Preserving Democracy, a public media initiative from The WNET Group. An examination of the profound and mounting threats to American democracy, "Lies, Politics and Democracy" tracks major political decisions made over the past seven years and lays bare the deep fissures that resulted.
"The film documents how Republican leaders made decisions over years that culminated in the Jan. 6 attack on Congress,” says Kirk. “But we also discovered that the decisions made by those same leaders after the attack were even more consequential in the ongoing threat to our democracy.”
The documentary presents startling new details from GOP insiders on how the indulgence of Trump’s authoritarian impulses and embrace of his rhetoric enabled his power over the American political system, leading the nation to this precarious moment. Told in part through the perspectives of key Republican players and party leaders, the two-hour special provides first-person accounts from those who sounded the alarm about Trump, and those whose warnings were minimized or silenced all along the way.
"Lies, Politics and Democracy" draws on more than 30 new and revealing interviews with former government officials, political journalists and experts. Among those, conservative “Never Trumpers” Bill Kristol and Mona Charen describe witnessing the GOP’s early capitulation to Trump; former members of Congress Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) weigh in on their early fears about Trump’s political strategy; and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), former federal Judge J. Michael Luttig and former White House Director of Strategic Communications Alyssa Farah Griffin expose what really unfolded among Trump’s inner circle during and after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The film also draws on the insights of two renowned journalists, Tim Alberta and Jelani Cobb, who collaborated with the film’s producers and spent years documenting an unprecedented moment in American history.
From the acclaimed team behind more than 15 documentaries chronicling Trump’s impact on American politics — including "Trump’s American Carnage", "The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden" and "Trump’s Takeover" — “Lies, Politics and Democracy” offers a meticulous and unflinching examination of choices made over years and continuing threats to American democracy.
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Watch On Your Schedule:
"Lies, Politics and Democracy" will be available to watch in full at pbs.org/frontline and in the PBS Video App starting Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, at 7/6c. It will be available on FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel at 9/8c.
You can also watch all FRONTLINE episodes online at https://video.kpbs.org/show/frontline/
Dozens of interviews with sources from the making of “Lies, Politics and Democracy” will be published on FRONTLINE’s website as part of FRONTLINE’s ongoing Transparency Project.
Join The Conversation:
A FRONTLINE production with the Kirk Documentary Group. The director is Michael Kirk. The producers are Michael Kirk, Mike Wiser and Vanessa Fica. The writers are Michael Kirk and Mike Wiser. The reporters are Vanessa Fica, Tim Alberta and Jelani Cobb. The editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath. Distributed internationally by PBS International.