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FRONTLINE; Hidden Life, A


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Hidden Life, A
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered January 1983 Since January 1983, FRONTLINE has served as American public television's - PBS - flagship public affairs series. Hailed upon its television broadcast debut as "the last best hope for broadcast documentaries," FRONTLINE's stature over 23 years is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human experience. Series release date: 1/1983

Program Description

On May 6, 2005, the residents of Spokane, Washington, awoke to one of the strangest headlines in the town's history: "West Tied to Sex Abuse in '70s, Using Office to Lure Young Men". The popular, socially conservative Republican mayor of Spokane, Jim West, had been outed by the town's newspaper The Spokesman-Review. The paper told the sordid story of a man with two lives: in public, he had once sponsored legislation forbidding gays from teaching in public schools, while in private, the paper alleged, he was trawling for young men online, using the trappings of his office to lure them into sexual relationships. But as bizarre as the revelations were, so too was the newspaper's methods. For months, a middle-aged "forensic computer specialist" had posed as an eighteen-year-old boy online, engaging the mayor in a relationship that became more and more intimate, ultimately exploding on the front page of the newspaper. With unfettered access to all the principal players, FRONTLINE explores how this story forced an all-American town to confront its most basic feelings about homosexuality and sheds new light on the confusing, often contradictory, experience of gay people themselves in a place far from the main battlefields of the culture wars.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Public Affairs
Chicago: “FRONTLINE; Hidden Life, A,” 11/08/2006, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 26, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_34196F069CB1476AA5204ED001FAE5DB.
MLA: “FRONTLINE; Hidden Life, A.” 11/08/2006. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 26, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_34196F069CB1476AA5204ED001FAE5DB>.
APA: FRONTLINE; Hidden Life, A. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_34196F069CB1476AA5204ED001FAE5DB
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