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In Search of Common Ground [electronic resource]: Remaking Public Policy on Human Life Issues

Do Americans still hold certain truths to be self-evident? Do all human beings possess inalienable rights endowed by their creator? Are all lives of equal value? And if so, how do those core beliefs translate into public policy on issues such as healthcare, poverty, abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia? This program explores what the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin called a "consistent ethic of life," explaining how it might be used as a framework for finding common ground between rival interests and how it could be applied to serving the common good.
2006; 2001

A Matter of Life and Death [electronic resource]: Politics of Abortion and Capital Punishment

When it comes to situations involving life and death, the United States is strongly polarized. Liberals commonly support the legality of abortion as a private matter of personal choice but condemn the death penalty as inhumane, while conservatives often support execution as a form of justice but denounce abortion as legalized murder. How did these points of view become a part of the ideologies of the left and the right? This program traces the development of political stances on life-and-death issues, exposing the lack of a consistent life ethic in mainstream American politics.
2006; 2001

Gay Marriage and the Constitution [electronic resource]

This ABC News program looks at the constitutional controversy over gay marriage as it exploded in both Massachusetts and California in February 2004. Is it a matter of civil rights or human rights? Should it be addressed at a state level or a federal level? Ted Koppel moderates a debate about gay marriage and its legal ramifications with Representative Barney Frank, conservative political activist Gary Bauer, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who arranged for the issuance of marriage licenses to eligible same-sex couples because the California Family Code is allegedly in violation of the state's constitution in the matter of gay marriage.
2006; 2004

Introducing the Transcendentalists [electronic resource]

In this new release, host James H. Bride brings the language and lives of the Transcendentalists to realization by recognizing the context, expression, and foundation of the movement. This program pioneers a new way for teachers and general readers to be on familiar terms with Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays, as well as the journals and writings of Henry David Thoreau. Professors Richard Baker, Joel Myerson, Bob Richardson, Wes Mott, and Larry Buell add significant biographical commentary and teaching suggestions to introduce this body of American philosophy and literature. Still important in the curriculum for studying the development of 19th-century American ideas, Introducing the Transcendentalists reflects today's 21st-century individual and philosophical challenges and associations [...]

The Truth About Lies [electronic resource]

The public mind is often deceived by those who manipulate it, and it deceives itself, as well. This program examines how deception has influenced some of the major events of our recent past and how self-deception shapes our personal lives and the public mind. Why do trusted people in public life lie to us and to themselves? Can a society die from too many lies? Do our institutions demand loyalty at the expense of the truth? The program explores such events as Watergate, the war in Vietnam, and the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger, and reveals the pressures that led to the denial of truth and the distortion of reality. Among those interviewed are John Dean, former counsel to President Nixon, and Roger Boisjoly, a Morton Thiokol engineer who tried to postpone the launch of the [...]
2006; 1988

When Journalism Gets a Black Eye [electronic resource]: Scandals and the Fourth Estate

What are the long-term effects of journalism scandals? When the public's trust is damaged, what can the Fourth Estate do to repair it? And how is technology affecting journalism in the 21st century? To speak to those points, this ABC News program turns to recent cases such as the notorious 60 Minutes Wednesday incident involving George W. Bush's national guard record. Two related journalistic issues are also discussed: the growing influence of new media (it was a blog that first questioned the authenticity of the anti-Bush documents) and the opportunism of right-wing media, which accused CBS of pursuing a political agenda in reporting such a story at the height of the 2004 presidential campaign.
2006; 2005

Peter Jennings Reporting [electronic resource]: Guantanamo

According to the Bush Administration, the war on terror requires new tactics and new thinking-including departure from the Geneva Conventions when deemed necessary. Guantanamo shows how that policy is implemented at Camp Delta, how it is vigorously defended in the name of national security, and how it is contested just as passionately on behalf of personal freedom and human rights. Reporter Peter Jennings interviews Gitmo's commanding general and former Administration insiders, shedding light on decision-making within the White House-while firsthand accounts of experiences inside the prison compose the darkest dimensions of the story.
2005; 2004

Moyers on America [electronic resource]: Capitol Crimes

The fall of super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff has exposed what may be one of the biggest political scandals in America's history. What does the dizzying scope of corruption say about how laws are made and who really owns the U.S. government? In this program, Bill Moyers and his team of investigative journalists untangle the web of relationships, secret deals, and political manipulation-including thousands of e-mails, reports, and facts on the record-to open a disturbing window on the dark side of American politics. A roundtable discussion with Thomas Frank and Norman Ornstein follows the documentary.

Abu Ghraib [electronic resource]: Torturer's Tale

Javal Davis was imprisoned for assaulting inmates at Abu Ghraib, but insists he is not a torturer. His fellow MP Ken Davis was never implicated, having reported the abuse to superiors. This program presents in-depth interviews with both men, detailing their side of the story and conveying their disillusionment with Pentagon officials who wanted interrogations pushed "up a notch." Featuring nightmarish descriptions and images from inside the prison-highlighting deplorable conditions endured by inmates and guards alike-the program also includes insight into the mentality of reservist Charles Graner, currently serving a 10-year sentence for Abu Ghraib torture.
2006; 2005

Charisma in Politics [electronic resource]: Analyzing Body Language

Furrowed brows, widened eyes, clenched teeth-such signals reveal a great deal about our leaders, and they also influence our reactions to media images. This program investigates ways in which facial expressions and nonverbal communication determine political charisma and power. Presenting examples from a wide range of historical and current sources, the film shows how psychologists diagram and analyze media images of politicians. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton are studied, as well as French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Commentators include the eminent psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman and renowned political philosopher Dr. Roger D. Masters.
2009; 2008

Stem Cells [electronic resource]: Ethical Issues

Providing a balanced look at a highly contentious issue, this program takes viewers inside the scientific, religious, and philosophical debate over embryonic stem cell research. Divergent opinions and perspectives are presented by respected researchers, thinkers, and stakeholders-including renowned Australian geneticist Dr. Alan Trounson; Father Norman Ford, a prominent ethics commentator and opponent of embryonic stem cell research; and patients with life-threatening medical conditions that stem cell innovations could potentially treat or cure. Each speaker identifies core principles and calmly articulates the reasons for his or her views.
2009; 2006

The Ghosts of My Lai [electronic resource]

On March 16, 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, American soldiers killed 504 unarmed civilians in the village of My Lai. After a brief overview of the war and the home front backlash against it, this program seeks to understand the massacre and its aftermath through the interwoven narratives of three U.S. soldiers-radioman Fred Widmer, helicopter crewman Larry Colburn, and photographer Ron Haeberle-who were present on that horrific day. The first participated in the slaughter; the second intervened in it; and the third revealed it to the world. In a Pittsburgh classroom and in present-day My Lai, these deeply scarred veterans tell their unforgettable stories with candor, grief, and insight.
2009; 2008

Consuming Images [electronic resource]

This program looks at a society inundated with visual images. From billboards to bus stops, from rock videos to newsstands, mass-produced images have become the very air we breathe. What is this cultural atmosphere saying to us and about us? Why should we care? Ever since the pioneers of public relations and advertising spoke about the "engineering of consent," social critics have analyzed its effects. For some, it reveals pure manipulation-the appropriation of language and meaning, the trivializing of life and thought. For others, it is the dawning of a new era-the printed word is dead and art and commerce are now joined in ever more sophisticated ways.
2006; 1989

Leading Questions [electronic resource]

This program examines the power of professional pollsters to influence public opinion. Public opinion pollsters and market researchers serve virtually every facet of American culture. Nearly everyone-from the makers of cake mix to television executives and candidates for public office-seeks to become the intimate of our private opinions for the purposes of their own strategies. In the hands of campaign consultants, the sophisticated techniques of market research become tools of political persuasion and "leaders" wind up finding out what we think, so they can tell us what they think is what we think, too. "If the toothpaste doesn't live up to your dreams, you are out a dollar fifty-seven," notes one observer. "With political candidates, the stakes are much higher.
2007; 1989

Illusions of News [electronic resource]

This program looks at the impact of the visual image on news and politics in the electing of Presidents and the governing of America. While projecting a self-serving image has long been an understandable part of American politics, the 1980s produced a marriage of sophisticated news manipulation by political candidates and a willingness of the news media to dance to the candidate's tune. To what extent has this manipulation contributed to political apathy on the part of the American public? The program looks at the changing values in journalism, including the increasing monopolization of the media and the use of pictures over ideas by television news. Says Michael Deaver, a former advisor in the Reagan White House, "The media, while they won't admit it, are not in the news business. T [...]
2007; 1989

Legislating Morality [electronic resource]: There Oughta Be a Law!

When Americans become outraged with behavior considered immoral or unethical, a typical response is to call on state legislatures or Congress to pass legislation outlawing it. Can government impose morality on its people by banning negative behavior or mandating positive behavior? History suggests that such efforts, though well-intentioned in many cases, are often ineffective. This program examines the successes and failures of law as a source of ethics in the U.S. with former New York governor Mario Cuomo; legal scholar Thomas DiBacco of American University; and Nadine Strossen, President of the American Civil Liberties Union.
2006; 1996

The Abortion War [electronic resource]: Thirty Years After Roe V. Wade

In the years since the U.S. Supreme Court's legalization of abortion, the political scene has changed dramatically enough to threaten this landmark decision. On the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this ABC News program surveys the current landscape of opinion and political alignment, examining the shift of momentum concerning abortion rights. Correspondent Dave Marash reports from Minnesota, while anchor Chris Bury discusses the issue with a panel of women who hold disparate views on abortion rights.
2006; 2003

A Conversation With Bertrand Russell [electronic resource]: From NBC's Wisdom Series

Romney Wheeler interviews British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic Bertrand Russell at Russell's home in Surrey, England. The conversation is part of NBC's Wisdom Series, which premiered on September 15, 1957. Russell is the author of New Hopes for a Changing World.

Ideas Roadshow [electronic resource]: Philosophy for the Masses

In this Ideas Roadshow episode, Howard Burton speaks with the first Professor of Public Understanding of Philosophy in the UK (and likely anywhere) Angie Hobbs of University of Sheffield, about why philosophy is so vital to all of us, no matter what we do in life.
2015; 2013