Jan 1, 2006

Looking back to a Sept. 30 segment on PBS's Now, correspondent Maria Hinojosa did "some good work" providing insights into FEMA's post-Katrina Gulf Coast problems, writes PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, but he's troubled by her unsupported claim that FEMA had treated Florida much better in 2004 because it was a swing state in an election year. A segment on Rep. Tom DeLay's legal problems was also "noticeably one-sided." In the stories, Getler says, Now's valuable reporting is diminished by unnecessary "political touches" and the omission of even a file clip of DeLay's self-defense.
A New York Times feature contrasts next week's PBS doc, Country Boys, with predictable accounts of the poverty cycle. "Everyone wants things to be all black and white, but with me everything is nuance," Sutherland says. Shot in 1999-01, the project debuts Jan. 9 on Frontline. The filmmaker estimates it's "a half-million dollars over budget, and two and a half years late." Current
profiled the project and two other Appalachian doc series in 2004. Sutherland is known for the earlier observational doc, The Farmer's Wife, aired in 1998. Sutherland says he still gets 30 e-mails a week about that series.