In this hour-long film, nominated for two 2021 Emmy Awards, journalists who covered Donald Trump during the 2016 race for the White House critique their role in the former president’s rise to power.

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Enemies of the People: Trump and the Political Press

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

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. Top reporters lift the veil on the former president’s toxic relationship with the national news media – and the role they played in the drama. The film explores questions that continue to resonate today about the decline of the public’s trust in the press.

“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.

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TranscriptCollection: Enemies of the People