Rain Media Earns Four News & Documentary Emmy Nominations

Rain Media earned four News & Documentary Emmy nominations yesterday for its work for PBS FRONTLINE in 2012.

The Regime Responds was nominated for Outstanding Continuing Coverage of a News Story in a News Magazine.

Six Billion Dollar Bet and Cell Tower Deaths, a FRONTLINE-ProPublica collaboration, were both nominated for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting in a News Magazine.

And the four-hour series Money, Power & Wall Street was nominated for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting — Long Form. Rain Media shares this nomination with the Kirk Documentary Group.

Congratulations to all the nominees, along with PBS FRONTLINE executive producer David Fanning, who will be honored as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Emmy when the winners are announced this fall. You can watch all of the films for free on the PBS FRONTLINE website.

FRONTLINE to re-air two Rain Media films

PBS FRONTLINE plans to re-air two Rain Media films, The Retirement Gamble, which first aired in April, and WikiSecrets, which aired in May 2011.

The Retirement Gamble will re-air on June 18. The film examined the reasons why so many Americans are finding it so difficult to retire.

WikiSecrets, which told the story of how the WikiLeaks website came in possession of hundreds of thousands of secret government documents, is scheduled to rebroadcast on July 2. The film examined the life of Bradley Manning, the army private who recently confessed to leaking the secret files. Manning, who is facing charges that include violations of the Espionage Act as well as aiding the enemy, is currently facing court martial.

Both programs are scheduled to air at 10 p.m. To check your local listings, click here.

On May 21, FRONTLINE also rebroadcast The Untouchables, a Rain Media production that investigated the reasons why no Wall Street executives have been prosecuted in connection to the financial crisis.

Watch “The Retirement Gamble” Tuesday, April 23rd on PBS Frontline

For most Americans, traditional retirement is now a pipe dream: Six in 10 people believe they’ll have to delay retirement, just 14 percent are very confident they’ll be able to live comfortably once they stop working, and 17 percent believe they’ll never retire at all.

Who is to blame?

The Retirement Gamble, airing Tuesday, April 23, at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), is an eye-opening investigation of a financial services industry that may be draining your retirement savings with every passing year.

Watch The Retirement Gamble Preview on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

“This FRONTLINE film speaks directly to you, the consumer,” says FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith (The Untouchables; Money, Power and Wall Street). “It will help you understand both what is happening to your retirement money, and, most importantly, the questions you should be asking before investing it.”

Using his own retirement fund as a case study, Smith undertakes an investigation that has implications for every working American. Through interviews with Wall Street executives at the helm of the mutual fund industry, professionals of all ages who are trying to navigate the retirement crisis, and current and former financial advisers who may or may not have their clients’ best interests at heart, he investigates the rise of the 401(k)—a product Americans buy without knowing its true cost.

FRONTLINE’s investigation reveals:

On any given street, one household may be paying 10 times as much to invest in a 401(k) as the household next door; Over the course of a lifetime, a seemingly low annual fee of 2 percent can reduce what your balance would have been by more than 60 percent—potentially adding years to your working life; Popular 401(k) providers often charge a plethora of hidden fees, burying them under opaque names like “Expense Ratio”; Many financial advisers are not required to provide advice that is in their clients’ best interest; they are only obligated to give advice that is “suitable”; and the best way to maximize your return might be to cut Wall Street out of the equation and invest in low-cost, unmanaged index funds.

Whether you’re just starting your professional career, or nearing what you hope will be your golden years, The Retirement Gamble is essential viewing if you hope to one day retire.


The Retirement Gamble is a FRONTLINE production with Rain Media. The producer is Marcela Gaviria. The correspondent is Martin Smith. The writers are Marcela Gaviria and Martin Smith. The deputy executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath. The executive producer of FRONTLINE is David Fanning.

Watch “The Untouchables” January 22 on PBS Frontline

More than four years since the financial crisis, not one senior Wall Street executive has faced criminal prosecution for fraud. Are Wall Street executives “too big to jail”?

In The Untouchables, premiering Jan. 22, 2013, at 10 P.M. on PBS (check local listings), FRONTLINE producer and correspondent Martin Smith investigates why the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has failed to act on credible evidence that Wall Street knowingly packaged and sold toxic mortgage loans to investors, loans that brought the U.S. and world economies to the brink of collapse.

Watch The Untouchables Preview on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Through interviews with top prosecutors, government officials and industry whistleblowers, FRONTLINE reports allegations that Wall Street bankers ignored pervasive fraud when buying pools of mortgage loans. Tom Leonard, a supervisor who examined the quality of loans for major investment banks like Bear Stearns, said bankers instructed him to disregard clear evidence of fraud. “Fraud was the F-word, or the F-bomb. You didn’t use that word,” says Leonard. “By your terms and my terms, yes, it was fraud. By the [industry’s] terms, it was something else.”

Former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), who was appointed to fill Joe Biden’s long-held Senate seat when he was sworn in as vice president in January 2009, was determined to see bankers in handcuffs. “I was really upset about what went on on Wall Street that brought about the financial crisis,” Kaufman recalls. “That doesn’t happen if there isn’t something bad going on.”

Yet Kaufman left office in late 2010 frustrated by the lack of criminal prosecutions. Jeff Connaughton, Kaufman’s chief of staff, remains convinced that the DOJ failed to make prosecuting Wall Street a top priority. “You’re telling me that not one banker, not one executive on Wall Street, not one player in this entire financial crisis committed provable fraud?” asks Connaughton. “I mean, I just don’t believe that.”

Smith asks Lanny Breuer, assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s Criminal Division, about his failure to criminally indict Wall Street executives. “I think there was a level of greed, a level of excessive risk taking in this situation that I find abominable and very upsetting,” says Breuer. “But that is not what makes a criminal case.”

Critics, including two high-level sources within Breuer’s own division and former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, disagree. “They have not done what needed to be done,” Spitzer says. “The greater risk is that corrupt behavior that is damaging to our economy, that leads to something as enormously painful as the cataclysm of ’08, goes unaddressed.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman finally filed a major lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase and Bear Stearns in 2012. It closely mirrors claims first made by private plaintiffs almost two years earlier. Despite strong evidence of fraud, the government again decided not to pursue criminal charges. Meanwhile, banking scandals continue to surface almost weekly.

Watch the PBS Frontline Hit Series: Money, Power & Wall Street

Money, Power & Wall Street, FRONTLINE’s four-hour investigation on the global financial crisis, goes inside the struggles to rescue and repair a shattered economy, exploring key decisions, missed opportunities and the unprecedented and uneasy partnership between government leaders and titans of finance.

The first two hours of this series air on Tuesday, April 24 from 9 PM-11 PM.

In the first hour, produced by RAINmedia, FRONTLINE takes you inside the rapid rise of credit default swaps, including the voices of those who created them. With the real estate market booming, bankers successfully tweaked the credit default swap to bundle up and sell home mortgage loans to eager investors. But despite the money flowing into banks’ coffers, credit default swaps also loaded the financial system with lethal risk. And when the housing bubble burst, the credit default swaps — originally designed to stabilize the system — brought the global economy to its knees. Regulators, who had often stood on the sideline and allowed Wall Street to police itself, saw the ugly consequences rapidly unfold before them.

In the second hour, produced by the Kirk Documentary Group, FRONTLINE investigates the largest government bailout in U.S. history, a series of decisions that rewrote the rules of government and fueled a debate that would alter the country’s political landscape. It offers play-by-play accounts of several secret meetings that permanently altered the financial system.

Watch Money, Power and Wall Street on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

Rain Media Wins Two Writers Guild Awards

Rain Media won two awards at the 64th Annual Writers Guild Awards in the Documentary and News categories.

Martin Smith and Marcela Gaviria were the winners in the Documentary – Other Than Current Events category for their film WikiSecrets.

Martin Smith and John Maggio were the winners in the News – Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin or Breaking Report category for their film Educating Sergeant Pantzke.

Both award-winning films can be watched for free on the PBS FRONTLINE website. Congratulations to all the winners, and especially to the producers at FRONTLINE who swept the entire Documentary and News categories for the night!

“Pantzke” in the Press

“Educating Sgt. Pantzke,” FRONTLINE’s investigative report about the for-profit college industry’s recruitment of veterans, is cited in a Sept. 23 New York Times op-ed and Time Magazine blog post for exposing the worst of these colleges’ marketing tactics.

The issues raised by “Educating Sgt. Pantzke” are currently the subject of Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearings. In his opening statement to the committee on Sept. 22, Ted L. Daywalt, CEO and President of VetJobs, said that the film “highlighted the problem veterans’ face when attending predatory for-profit educational institutions.”

In the Times, op-ed author Hollister K. Petraeus, assistant director for service member affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (and wife of general David Petraeus), argues that “personnel and their families are finding themselves under siege from for-profit colleges,” who use deception and sometimes outright lies to win veterans’ hard-earned tuition stipends. In particular, she mentions an incident, recounted on FRONTLINE, in which a college recruiter at the Marine barracks at Camp Lejeune, N.C. worked to recruit veterans suffering from significant brain injuries.

On Time’s Battleland blog, Ron Capps, a 25-year military veteran and current director of the Veterans Writing Project, discusses the lack of support networks at these colleges for veterans troubled by PTSD, TBI and other combat-related ailments explored in “Pantzke.”

For a news update on the Senate hearings, please visit Gretchen Gavett’s report on FRONTLINE’s webpage. Click here to watch “Educating Sergeant Pantzke.”

Broadcast Tuesday, September 13 on PBS FRONTLINE: “The Interrogator”

The Interrogator is the story of a former FBI Agent who has decided to blow the whistle on “the war on terror.” Ali Soufan interrogated  some of the most high-ranking Al Qaeda operatives around the world.  He gives FRONTLINE an insider’s view of why the attacks on the World Trade Center could have been prevented and how the use of coercive interrogations failed to produce actionable intelligence.    Also in this hour: Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest investigates the terrorism-industrial complex that grew up in the wake of 9/11.  Against a backdrop of recent mail bomb threats from Al Qaeda in Yemen and growing concerns about homegrown terrorists, Priest explores the growing reach of homeland security, fusion centers, battlefield technologies, and data-collecting into the lives of ordinary Americans.

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.

Watch FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith on Morning Joe

Correspondent Martin Smith discusses our upcoming documentary, WikiSecrets, which airs tonight at 9 p.m. on PBS FRONTLINE

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

You can also see Smith discuss the program on Charlie Rose and PBS News Hour.

Broadcast Tuesday, May 24 on PBS FRONTLINE: “WikiSecrets”

It’s the biggest intelligence breach in U.S. history—the leaking of more than half-a-million classified documents on the WikiLeaks website in the spring of 2010. Behind it all, stand two very different men: Julian Assange, the Internet activist and hacker who published the documents, and an Army intelligence analyst named Bradley E. Manning, who’s currently charged with handing them over. Private Manning allegedly leaked the secret cables—along with a controversial video—in the hope of inciting “worldwide discussion, debates and reforms.” Assange’s stated mission has been to force the U.S. and other governments into maximum transparency through his whistle-blowing website. Through in-depth interviews with Manning’s father, Assange, and others close to the case, veteran FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith tells the full story behind the leaks. He also reports on the U.S. government’s struggle to protect national security information in a post 9/11 world.

Watch the full episode. See more FRONTLINE.