Rain Media Nominated for 2 Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism

Rain Media was recently nominated for two Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism.

The Untouchables, which explores the lack of Wall Street prosecutions in the wake of the financial crisis, is a Video/Audio Category Finalist. Federal Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who handles Wall Street criminal cases out of his seat in the Southern District of New York, recently cited The Untouchables in his New York Review of Books essay “The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted,” in which he claims that Lanny Breuer, the former leader of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, “totally misstates the law” during his interview on the program.

Meanwhile, The Retirement Gamble, FRONTLINE’s thorough primer on the uphill battle to retirement, is a Personal Finance Category Finalist. As TIME Magazine said, “You are all but certain to identify with one or more subjects in the program, and it may provide just the jolt you need to start paying attention to investment costs and save 10% of every penny you earn.”

Both films can be streamed for free on the PBS FRONTLINE website.

Congratulations to all of the finalists!

United States of Secrets, Pt. 2 to Air Tuesday, May 20 at 10 P.M. on PBS

When NSA contractor Edward Snowden downloaded tens of thousands of top-secret documents from a highly secure government network, it led to the largest leak of classified information in history — and sparked a fierce debate over privacy, technology and democracy in the post-9/11 world.

Now, in United States of Secrets, FRONTLINE goes behind the headlines to reveal the dramatic inside story of how the U.S. government came to monitor and collect the communications of millions of people around the world—including ordinary Americans—and the lengths they went to trying to hide the massive surveillance program from the public.

In part one, a two-hour film premiering Tuesday, May 13 at a special time (9 p.m.), FRONTLINE went inside Washington and the National Security Agency, piecing together the secret history of the unprecedented surveillance program that began in the wake of September 11 and continues today – even after the revelations of its existence by Edward Snowden.

Now, in part two, premiering Tuesday, May 20 at 10 p.m., veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Martin Smith (The Untouchables, To Catch a Trader) continues the story, exploring the secret relationship between Silicon Valley and the National Security Agency, and investigating how the government and tech companies have worked together to gather and warehouse your data.

Smith investigates the ways Silicon Valley has played a role in the NSA’s dragnet, and blurred the boundaries of privacy for us all.

“As big technology companies encouraged users to share more and more information about their lives, they created a trove of data that could be useful not simply to advertisers—but also to the government,” Smith says. “Privacy advocates have been worried about this since the early days of the Internet, and the Snowden revelations about the scope of government spying brought their fears into high relief.”

“If the FBI came to your door and demanded photos of your wedding, the names and daily habits of your children, the restaurants you frequent, who you’ve called and texted for the past month, and where you’ll be staying on your upcoming vacation, you’d call your lawyer,” Smith says. “But that’s exactly the sort of information we’re all sharing by living our lives digitally — and the government has taken notice in a big way.”

To Catch a Trader to Air Tuesday, January 7 at 10 p.m. on PBS

The $8 billion fortune amassed by the hedge fund titan Steven A. Cohen was stunning: a 35,000-square-foot mansion on Connecticut’s “Gold Coast”; a $62 million beach house in the Hamptons; a $115 million duplex in New York City, furnished with some of the world’s most valuable art.

Was Cohen’s firm, SAC Capital, simply smarter than the other players on Wall Street? Or, as the U.S. Justice Department began to suspect, was there another explanation for how SAC managed to beat the stock market and bring in sky-high returns for Cohen and his investors year after year?

From the team behind FRONTLINE’s The Untouchables and Money, Power and Wall Street comes To Catch a Trader (premiering Tuesday, Jan. 7, on PBS; check local listings), the suspenseful and compelling story of the unprecedented government investigation that led to the largest insider trading case in U.S. history.

Drawing on exclusively obtained video of Cohen, FBI wiretaps of other hedge fund traders, and interviews with both Wall Street and Justice Department insiders (including U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the “sheriff of Wall Street”), To Catch a Trader traces the rise of Cohen’s empire and goes inside the government’s ongoing, seven-year crackdown on insider trading in the hedge fund industry.

“Our investigation found that in 2006, for the first time, the FBI started to go after hedge funds the same way they went after the mob,” says FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith, who, along with director and producer Nick Verbitsky, spent six months digging into the government’s cases against traders at SAC Capital and other hedge funds.

“They began investigating Cohen and his peers in the same fashion—wiretapping, flipping informants, basically using these methods to target white-collar criminals for the first time,” Smith says.

As FRONTLINE reports, since prosecutors first set their sights on the hedge fund industry, the FBI’s crackdown has uncovered institutional, widespread malfeasance.

As one agent tells FRONTLINE, “We likened it to the first Jaws movie, that we’re ‘going to need a bigger boat.’”

To date, the government has convicted 76 people of securities fraud and conspiracy. In November 2013, SAC Capital agreed to plead guilty to what prosecutors called “insider trading that was substantial, pervasive, and on a scale without precedent in the history of hedge funds.” Under an agreement still pending a judge’s approval, the firm will cease to operate as a hedge fund and will pay a $1.8 billion penalty.

Steven Cohen has not been charged with insider trading; he instead faces civil charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly failing to supervise his employees and prevent misconduct.

U.S. Attorney Bharara tells FRONTLINE that the government’s investigation into insider trading at hedge funds will continue.

“Our responsibility and obligation is to make sure that everybody understands that no one is above the law,” Bharara says, “that it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, who you’re connected to, you have to play by the same rules as everyone else.”

Unfolding with the urgency of a crime novel, To Catch a Trader is a must-watch primer for what happens next.

Exclusive: Watch Billionaire Steven Cohen Stumble Over Insider Trading Rules

Steven A. Cohen

Rain Media and PBS FRONTLINE have obtained a never-before-published video in which hedge fund titan Steven A. Cohen, whose firm this week pleaded guilty to securities fraud, describes federal securities laws as “vague,” and asks for an explanation of the basic Securities and Exchange Commission rule that prohibits insider trading.

See the story on PBS FRONTLINE’s webpage.

The 34th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards; 10/1/13

Rain Media Wins an Emmy for Money, Power and Wall Street

PBS FRONTLINE’s four-hour special chronicling the history of the 2008 financial crisis, Money, Power and Wall Street, took home last night’s News and Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Business and Economic Reporting – Long Form. Rain Media shared the award with the Kirk Documentary Group. Congratulations to all the winners, including FRONTLINE founder and Executive Producer David Fanning, who won the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

Egypt in Crisis to Air Tuesday, September 17 at 10 p.m. on PBS

Less than three years after the popular uprising that led to President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, and just one year after Egypt’s first free and fair elections, the democratically elected government has been overthrown and the Egyptian military is running the state.

And the Muslim Brotherhood—the secretive, long-outlawed Islamist group that came out of the shadows to win the presidency in June 2012—is once again being driven underground, its members killed and arrested in an army-led campaign to wipe it off the map.

Were the Brothers ever really in charge? Or was the Egyptian “deep state”—embedded remnants of Mubarak’s police force, Supreme Court and, most of all, military—in control all along?

In Egypt in Crisis, airing Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), FRONTLINE and GlobalPost’s Charles M. Sennott go inside the Egyptian revolution, tracing how what began as a youth movement to topple a dictator evolved into an opportunity for the Muslim Brotherhood to seemingly find the political foothold it had sought for decades—and then why it all fell apart.

“We’ve gone from the hope and high expectations of the 2011 revolution to the first free and fair presidential election in Egypt’s history to a return to military rule and a country more deeply divided than ever—all in less than three years,” says Sennott, a veteran Middle East correspondent (The Brothers). “This FRONTLINE documentary takes you deep inside these turbulent ups and downs.”

When Sennott was in Egypt reporting for FRONTLINE’s The Brothers in January of 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood had aligned itself with secular youth activists and was essentially holding the revolution’s infrastructure together.

“The young activists had no real leader,” Sennott says. “The Brothers were much more organized, so they stepped in, and they were the ones running the security checkpoints, serving hot tea, distributing blankets and running an emergency health clinic.”

But, as FRONTLINE reveals, the Brotherhood soon turned on its former allies, aligning itself instead with the Egyptian army and tolerating violent repression. Under the short-lived presidency of Mohammed Morsi, the military tortured high-ranking members of the opposition, subjected women to public “virginity tests” and conducted mass arrests of revolutionaries.

“We wanted our first elected president, who himself had been subjected to torture, who himself has come from a clandestine organization that was the prime target of police brutality, to stand up against police brutality,” Khaled Fahmy, a historian at the American University in Cairo, tells FRONTLINE. “Nothing happens. Not a single police officer was put on trial. Not a single investigation was launched.”

In Egypt in Crisis, FRONTLINE goes behind the scenes to find out how Morsi’s rule became increasingly unpopular, and explores the days and decisions leading up to his ouster at the hands of the military and his arrest on charges of inciting murder.

With Egypt’s hopes for democracy in tatters, and the military-led government violently cracking down on the Brothers, what will happen next?

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.

Read more…

Gulf Oil Spill Dead At Last

Watch “The Spill” on PBS Frontline

Over the past decade, BP vaulted from an energy “also-ran” to one of the biggest companies in the world, gobbling up competitors in a series of mergers that delivered handsome profits for shareholders. But an investigation by FRONTLINE and the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica shows that BP’s leadership failed to create a culture of safety in the massive new company. As BP took increasingly big risks to find oil and extract it, the company left behind a trail of mounting problems: deadly accidents, disastrous spills, countless safety violations. Each time, BP acknowledged the wider flaws in its culture and promised to do better. The FRONTLINE/ProPublica investigation shows that the rhetoric was empty. From the refineries to the oil fields to the Gulf of Mexico, BP workers understood that profits came first.

Read more…

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.