Next Episode of The Fourth Estate is
This documentary series about The New York Times in the Trump era illuminates critical issues facing journalism today. A chief task for the Times, long considered the "newspaper of record," is to find the best way to accurately and honestly cover this unconventional president, even as he tries to undermine them. Through extraordinary access and exclusive interviews, Oscar® nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus chronicles the tenacious men and women in the trenches who are fighting for the freedom of the press and America's right to know.
As Donald Trump takes the oath of office, The New York Times' New York and Washington bureaus prepare to cover an administration unlike any other. The role that Russia played in the 2016 election quickly emerges as a storyline that will continue to unfold. In this fiercely competitive environment, The Times and The Washington Post vie for scoops while overtaxed journalists work to develop sources inside a volatile administration. Meanwhile, the paper faces economic challenges as it continues to adapt to a digital world.
Shortly after FBI director James Comey is fired, The Times is on to a huge scoop with ongoing reverberations regarding Comey's memos about his meetings with President Trump. Things are made more dire when The Times reveals details of a secret meeting between members of the Trump campaign and a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin. But even as The Times drives this shocking flow of new information, it continues to squarely address its own inner challenges. Can The Times adapt to a digital future without losing something vital in the process?
As violence erupts in Charlottesville, the president's unwillingness to denounce the racist hate groups presents a new test for journalists. Trump blames the "failing New York Times" and "crooked media" for distorting his speech and further deepening the country's divisions. Meanwhile, Steve Bannon exits the White House and a Times reporter questions where his populist revolution is headed now, as the paper deals with reining in its own reporters on Twitter.
The New York Times reporters learn that the president's former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, has pled guilty to lying to the FBI, bringing the Russia investigation closer to Trump's inner circle. As the paper leads the reporting on workplace sexual harassment, allegations of past misconduct by one reporter in the bureau bring the story home. And for all the attacks on the free press over the course of Trump's first year in office, the paper is rewarded for what it does best.
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