This Emmy Award-nominated film looks at how the journalistic instinct for “balanced” reporting on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016 played out.

Watch the documentary here
Get our weekly newsletter

Enemies of the People: Trump and the Political Press (False Equivalency Excerpt)

Director and Producer: Susie Banikarim
Co-Director and Editor: Bret Sigler
Senior Producer: Karen M. Sughrue
Producer: Victor Couto
Additional Producer: Matthew Spolar
Archival Researcher: Jennifer Latham

Watch the full documentary here.

This film, nominated for two 2021 Emmy Awards, is an hourlong examination of the national political press and its coverage of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. This excerpt explores how the journalistic instinct for “balanced” reporting on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016 played out, in particular when it came to coverage of the Clinton email investigation.

“He got the car crash coverage,” said Chuck Todd, who covered the campaign for NBC news. “You’re like, ‘Wait until you see what he’s gonna say next!’

This Retro Report documentary video, created in collaboration with Vice TV, examines how Trump’s rhetoric, and the response to it by mainstream news organizations, have reshaped journalism.

From the moment Trump stepped onto an escalator to make a dramatic entrance into the 2016 presidential field, the press played a central role in his candidacy. His tumultuous relationship with reporters became one of the defining themes and conflicts of the campaign.

“We didn’t report correctly,” said Jorge Ramos, a Univision news anchor. “We didn’t see reality as it was, but as we wanted it to be.”

As Trump rose to power, members of the news media were accused by critics of being complicit, mocked and physically threatened by Trump supporters, and derided by the candidate himself as “fake news.”

“It needs to be a ruthless telling of the history if we’re going to learn anything from it,” David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, told Retro Report.

Remnick is interviewed in the documentary, as are journalists Maggie Haberman, Jeff Zucker, Jorge Ramos, Chuck Todd, Jake Tapper, Katy Tur, Megyn Kelly, Lydia Polgreen, Dana Bash, David Fahrenthold, Brian Stelter, Soledad O’Brien, Jay Rosen, Nancy Gibbs and others.

Subscribe to our newsletter for our latest work and surprises from history.

Educators, click below for this video's education collection. Sign up for our educator newsletter to receive classroom resources, and browse more lesson plans and videos here.

Collection: Enemies of the People