The Fourth Estate (Showtime 2018, Maggie Haberman, Arthur Gregg Sulzberger)

The Fourth Estate is an excellent four part documentary exploring the process and progress of The New York Times and its journalists in covering the Trump administration.

Through extraordinary access, on-the-scene filmmaking, and exclusive sit-down interviews, this documentary series illuminates critical issues facing journalism today – including the challenge to the bedrock concept of truth, the changing role of the media, and the Times’ response to President Trump’s war of words.

production details
USA / Showtime / 4×90 minutes / 27 May – 17 June 2018

Maggie Haberman as Herself – Ny Times White House Correspondent
Arthur Gregg Sulzberger as Himself – NY Times Publisher
Elisabeth Bumiller as Herself – NY Times Washington Bureau Chief
Dean Baquet as Himself – NY Times Executive Editor

1. First 100 Days | Airdate: 27 May 2018
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.

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2. The Trump Bump | Airdate: 3 June 2018
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?

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3. American Carnage | Airdate: 10 June 2018
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.

4. Matters of Fact | Airdate: 17 June 2018 
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: good reporting.

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.