PBS ombudsman tackles “Sick Around America” dispute

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The controversy surrounding Frontline’s “Sick Around America” doc is the subject of PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler’s latest column. He reports receiving notes from viewers complaining that the show failed to discuss, or even mention, the “single-payer system” of national health insurance, which some activists say is a solution to the nation’s health-care crisis. Those critical comments “escalated and then exploded, producing another round of critical mail and a serious journalistic dispute.” Journalist and author T.R. Reid, who did reporting for the program and was to be its on-air correspondent, dropped out of the project before it aired March 31 in a dispute over the content. He’s worked on several projects with Frontline in the past. Ried told Current, “Frontline is done with me. I think they’re blaming me for this mess.” Reid said he finished his final interview for the project Jan. 6, saw an edited version of the program in mid-February and suggested 16 script changes, which Frontline declined to make. Read Frontline’s response here.