In The Know

MSNBC debuts four-part documentary ‘American Swamp’ about DC disconnect

Journalists Katy Tur and Jacob Soboroff are teaming up to examine Washington swamp creatures in “American Swamp,” a new docuseries premiering Sunday on MSNBC.

The goal of the four-part series, says Tur, is to investigate what “the swamp” in D.C. really means following President Trump’s famous pledge to drain it.

{mosads}“What Jacob and I wanted to try to figure out was why Congress doesn’t pass that many bills. Or why don’t many people feel Congress is working for them? Why we have only a 43 percent turnout for elections. And why is there so much corrupting money in politics, and how did it get there? Big questions that have been out there for a long time, and we’ve tried to tackle them in an engaging way,” Tur says.

“What we’re exploring is the disconnect between Washington and everyday Americans’ lives,” Soboroff adds.

Working together wasn’t a stretch for Tur and Soboroff, who both grew up in Los Angeles and have known each other for about 20 years.

While their respective high schools were rivals and went head-to-head in sports, Soboroff admits he wasn’t really part of the varsity scene. 

“I was like a theater-nerd loser,” the MSNBC and NBC News correspondent says with a laugh.

“I like to think that I was good at sports, but I was not very good at all,” Tur concedes. Nevertheless, she boasts, “I would say my school is better.”

The very friendly competition between the two wasn’t just scholastic — it even extended to family. Their dads ran against each other in the 2001 Los Angeles mayoral race. They both lost.

The pair became even closer in college when they both decided to pursue journalism careers.

“We would do our own reporting on various subjects and we’d send our videos to each other so we could critique each other,” says 35-year-old Tur.

“And the same crappy Prius that I drove Katy around in in college is the same crappy Prius that I still drive today,” Soboroff, 36, chuckles.

“You will not see my mother in the show, so it’s not quite Kardashian,” Soboroff quips, when asked if the docuseries label means the show would be like “Keeping up With the Kardashians” or other reality TV shows. “But it definitely looks more documentary style,” he adds. “It’s a show in the field, and beyond regular news reports.”

When ITK wondered aloud if critics might write off the series as simply an anti-Trump documentary from MSNBC, Tur replies, “It’s really not about Trump.”

“It’s mostly about the system and it’s about the swamp, which is again, bipartisan. Frustration in government is not partisan,” she says. “Frustration against government is felt across this country and what we’re trying to do is figure out why.”

“American Swamp” premieres Sunday at 9 p.m.

Tags Donald Trump

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