A Hidden Life

Produced by: Rachel Dretzin and Muriel Soenens
Directed by: Rachel Dretzin and Barak Goodman
Written by: Barak Goodman
Edited by: George O'Donnell and R.A. Fedde
Associate Producer: Caitlin McNally
Camera: Jon Shenk
Original Music: Gary Lionelli

In A Hidden Life, Ark Media and FRONTLINE explore how a front-page scandal exposed some of the most deeply buried issues surrounding homosexuality in America. With unfettered access to all the key players, the one-hour documentary sheds new light on questions of sexual identity, journalistic ethics, and the experience of homosexuals living far from the front lines of America's culture wars. In May 2005, the city of Spokane, Washington, awoke to startling headlines. Jim West, Spokane's popular, socially conservative Republican mayor, had been exposed as a homosexual by the city's newspaper, The Spokesman-Review. The paper told a sordid story of a man leading two lives: the public life of a conservative politician and a private life spent trawling for young men on the Internet. The scandal was easy fodder for late night comedians and combatants in the national culture wars. But behind the screaming headlines lay a more complex story. Had the newspaper overstepped journalistic boundaries when it invented a teenage boy to meet the mayor in an online chatroom? Were key details of the story exaggerated, or even distorted? Had the Spokesman-Review exposed a predator or 'outed' a private man? In A Hidden Life, Ark Media and FRONTLINE explore how a front-page scandal exposed some of the most deeply buried issues surrounding homosexuality in America. With unfettered access to all the key players, the one-hour documentary sheds new light on questions of sexual identity, journalistic ethics, and the experience of homosexuals living far from the front lines of America's culture wars.

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