I have a backlog of PBS programs recorded on our DVR—American Experience, Nova, and the most recent edition of Frontline—but they’re gonna have to wait because tonight PBS is airing Frontline‘s look at Lee Atwater, appropriately titled “Boogie Man.” Often cited as the evil genius behind today’s wedge politics and a mentor to Karl Rove, Atwater was the chair of the Republican National Party in 1989. He died two years later from a brain tumor. According to Frontline‘s senior editor, Ken Dornstein, “…Atwater reportedly had a religious awakening and was terrified of going to hell for tactics like the ‘Willie Horton’ ad, which famously linked an African American convicted murderer to ’88 presidential hopeful Michael Dukakis. But, as with many stories floated by Atwater over the years, producer [Stefan] Forbes finds that this one, too, wasn’t entirely what it seemed to be.”
I’ll be in political-geek heaven.
The 90-minute documentary airs tonight at 9PM EST on PBS (check your local listings).