WGBH acknowledged that one of the most compelling segments on Antiques Roadshow — the so-called “watermelon sword” appraisal — was faked without its knowledge. The station severed ties late last month with Russ Pritchard III and George Juno, former partners in an antique weaponry dealership who frequently appeared on the series.
Weeks before the debut of an American Experience film on the U.S. response to the Holocaust, defenders of President Franklin Roosevelt undertook a quiet campaign to influence and later discredit historical analysis presented in “America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference.” In the disturbing film, aired April 6, 1994, producer Marty Ostrow argued that the Roosevelt Administration knew that the Nazis were systematically slaughtering Jews and followed a policy of not rescuing them. The critics’ complaint, in the words of William vanden Heuvel, president of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, was that the film was “one-sided and grossly unfair, indifferent to the truth and deceitful in concept.” But when series producers sat down to evaluate the advance criticism with Ostrow and his team of historical advisors, they came to a different conclusion. “We came out of those meetings with confidence that the film was not only accurate, but it said what the authors of the film wanted it to say, and that they were on good ground,” said Judy Crichton, executive producer.
After a seven-month investigation of the factual accuracy of ”Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II,” WNET announced Sept. 7, 1993, that some portions of the documentary were ”seriously flawed” and that the New York station would continue to withhold the film from PTV distribution until it is corrected. Judging by the producers’ reactions, the film is unlikely to return to the public airwaves. In a statement issued by Bill Miles and Nina Rosenblum, the filmmakers stood by the oral testimony presented in ”Liberators,” criticized WNET’s review for not being conducted independently, and accused WNET and PBS of censorship. Miles Educational Film Productions holds the copyright to the film.