When Cheney Was a 'Frontline' Fan


Given some of


’s examinations of recent history—

Bush’s War


Cheney’s Law


The Lost Year in Iraq

—we’re guessing the venerable PBS news program doesn’t have many fans in the Bush White House.

Although some


reports have been screened in House Foreign Relations Subcommittee meetings—including

The Terrorist and the Superpower

, the 1999 documentary that introduced PBS viewers to Osama bin Laden—the current administration hasn’t exactly been supportive of the program’s mission, having proposed to slash funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in half in 2009, by even more in 2010 and to nothing in 2011.

But there was a time, early in the Bush presidency, when the White House—specifically Vice President Dick Cheney—seemed to appreciate


’s work. After PBS stations reran

The Terrorist and the Superpower

in the days following 9/11, David Fanning, Frontline’s executive producer, heard from Cheney’s office.

"We got a call from the White House," Fanning recalls. "They said, ‘The vice president would like a copy of this film.’ So we said, ‘We’ll send it over right away.’ They said, ‘There’s a car downstairs.’"

What did he expect: an address to Cheney’s bunker?