- A new documentary series premieres Sunday night that follows top political reporters and editors from The New York Times as they report in the first year of the increasingly press-opposed landscape of President Donald Trump’s administration.
- Documentarian Liza Garbus sought out full access from Executive Editor Dean Baquet to capture the political reporting process at “Trump’s hometown newspaper.”
“The Fourth Estate” is a four-episode series on Showtime that will feature top reporters, editors, and correspondents from the Times navigating covering a president that has labeled the media as “the enemy of the American people.”
In an introductory video, producer Justin Wilkes described the series as a chance to shine a light on the processes of political reporters as individuals working for the public good.
“It’s a look at the men and women who are on the front lines of getting the story and being able to inform the country and the world,” Wilkes says.
Director Liz Garbus said in an interview with Politico the project was thanks to Executive Editor Dean Baquet‘s agreement for her to have full access to one of the oldest and most prominent American publications.
“The New York Times is Trump’s hometown newspaper,” Garbus says in a promotional video. “It felt like a really important place to be to document how the White House’s relationship with the press would change.”
Baquet said at a talk after the series premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival that he hoped the comprehensive series would give audiences a look into the pains reporters take to tell complete, nonpartisan stories.
“What I hope that people take away from this is that we work really, really hard to be fair, that we do not run around with anti-Trump signs on our desks, that our job is not to be the opposition but to cover him aggressively and fairly,” Baquet said.
Trump and The Times have had a publicly tenuous relationship through his time in office, as his tweets have labeled the paper “failing” and targeted “third-rate reporter” White House correspondent Maggie Haberman, who is featured in the series and shown speaking to Trump in the trailer.
The Times reported it surpassed $1 billion in revenue in 2017.
The series title and historical phrase “Fourth Estate” refers to journalism as a critical ingredient of a functioning democracy, with equal weight and responsibility to American citizens as the three branches of the federal government.
Watch the series trailer below: