One of those Democratic presidents was accused of having sex with an intern, under his authority. This also was, and is, a criminal offense, as many bosses, doctors, and teachers will explain, some from a jail cell, others who labor in jobs not in their field because they were fired. But the president of the United States was not charged with that offense, he was only impeached for 'lying to Congress.' Tsk, tsk. And then he went on to be re-elected to a second term.
The term "fourth estate" is often attributed to British politician Edmund Burke. Thomas Carlyle, in "Heroes and Hero-Worship in History," writes:
The fourth estate refers to the watchdog role of the press, one that is important to a functioning democracy.
Burke said that there were three Estates in Parliament, but in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a fourth Estate more important far than them all.
The Oxford English Dictionary attributes the term fourth estate to Lord Brougham in 1823. Others attributed it to English essayist William Hazlitt.
In England, the three estates preceding the fourth estate were the king, the clergy and the commoners.
In the United States, the term fourth estate is sometimes used to place the press alongside the three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial.