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Frontline Inside the Meltdown
IMDB Rating: 7.9/10 from votes
Release: 17 February 2009 (USA) /

Frontline Inside the Meltdown

Genre: Documentary
Director: Michael Kirk,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Frontline investigates the 2008 economic meltdown and offers an inside look at what caused the crisis and who, if anyone, could have stopped it.

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Critic Reviews


Beginning with the collapse of Bear Stearns, "Inside The Meltdown" (2009) describes financial events that gripped Wall Street and the U.S. federal government, in 2008. The solvency of even bigger institutions is also examined, including Fannie May, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and AIG. Government, Wall Street, and media insiders give their views on what happened. Interviewees include: Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, David Faber, anchor of CNBC, several executives associated with Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, financial writers for the N.Y. Times, an NYU economist, and others.

Throughout the one-hour documentary, two men are highlighted as having played critical roles in this financial crisis: Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Fed. Chairman Ben Bernanke. While Frontline's overall description of events is factual, its analysis is shallow and superficial. One could get comparable information simply by reading news headlines.

But much worse is the slant of Frontline's overall presentation. Frontline's analysis conveys the impression that these kinds of financial crises occur from time to time. No one is to blame. And thank goodness we had great leaders like Paulson and Bernanke to see us through this meltdown.

Almost nothing is mentioned in the program about Paulson's connection to Lehman Brothers' rival Goldman Sachs. No discussion is given to matters related to "fraud" or "corruption". There's not a word about how the bailout money was spent. All of those interviewed, without exception, are institutional "insiders" who, it could be argued, have a vested interest in whitewashing the whole sorry episode. No critique of these insiders' views or counter argument is given ... at all.

The premise inherent in this Frontline documentary is that we can trust these insider experts. But can we? I have no confidence in this documentary because it merely regurgitates bland, politically correct explanations to foster an "all is well" mentality. Or to put it more bluntly, "Inside The Meltdown" is insider propaganda meant to quell populist anger.

About the best that I can say for this program is that narrator Will Lyman has a terrific voice. He lends credibility to whatever he is narrating, regardless of the program script. Otherwise, if you want substantive information about the "meltdown", or if you would like a factual presentation from a more critical point of view, you will need to look elsewhere.

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