Ahead of the 2022 midterms, FRONTLINE’s two-hour season premiere investigates political leaders and choices they made at key points that have undermined and threatened American democracy.
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In “Lies, Politics and Democracy,” FRONTLINE examines how officials fed the public lies about the 2020 presidential election and embraced rhetoric that led to political violence.
An epic examination of former President Donald Trump’s influence on the Republican Party, the documentary presents startling 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 a precarious moment in which most Republican voters now believe the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
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” is supported by The WNET Group’s Preserving Democracy, a public media initiative. The film is 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.
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FRONTLINE is produced at GBH in Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Additional support for FRONTLINE is provided by the Abrams Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Park Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund, with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation, and additional support from Koo and Patricia Yuen. Funding for Lies, Politics and
Prologue - 00:00
Trump Falsely Claimed Ted Cruz 'Stole' Iowa Caucuses in 2016 - 00:37
Early Signs of Trump Embracing Authoritarian Behavior - 6:54
How Republican Leaders Responded to Trump in 2016 - 19:32
Trump’s Vision of President as Strongman - 26:07
Trump & the GOP’s Response to White Nationalists at Charlottesville - 28:50
Republicans Who Warned of Trump’s Threat to Democracy - 40:27
Democrats’ Push to Impeach Trump in 2019 - 50:26
Trump & the GOP’s Response to Black Lives Matter Protests - 58:49
The Big Lie About the 2020 Election - 1:04:52
Trump’s Plot to Overturn the Election - 1:19:40
The Republican Party After Jan. 6 & Trump’s Presidency - 1:34:35
The Damage of the Big Lie Continues - 1:46:53
Credits - 1:51:58