The story of disinformation in America.

Latest Post Get 'Em While They're Young by Rigged public

In the Rigged podcast we’ll rummage through the bag of tricks used by PR to shape the world you live in. Over the last century, these tricks have rigged the media, the government… society, really...with sometimes ridiculous, and sometimes profoundly serious effects on our democracy. This is a podcast about that war for hearts and minds right here on US soil. Listen below, or on your favorite podcast app right now.

Trailer: Welcome to Rigged

Episode 1: Fake Experts and Real Bacon

In this episode we'll meet the godfathers of American PR, Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays, and explore the origins and evolution of industry-funded experts who shaped everything from the breakfast table to the energy system. Transcript

Episode 2: Ye Olde Crisis Actor Myth

You could be forgiven for thinking the crisis actor myth was cooked up by Alex Jones to sell people on school shooting conspiracies, but in fact it's more than a century old. In this episode we meet the world's first publicist, the legendary Ivy Ledbetter Lee, and learn about his work crushing mine strikes for the Rockefellers. Transcript

Episode 3: A Tie Is a Win

The tactic of science denial is fairly well known these days. In this episode, we dig into a lesser-known aspect: the PR strategy behind science denial, and the origins and architects of that strategy. Transcript

Episode 4: The Birth of SponCon

The legendary Herb Schmertz, VP of Mobil Oil, worked with PBS and The New York Times to invent sponsored content—sponcon—back in the 1960s. Transcript

Ep 5: Fun with Front Groups

Astroturfing—the creation of fake grassroots groups to agitate for pro-business policies—has been a favorite tactic of industries and companies trying to avoid regulation for decades. In this episode we take a look at some of the greatest hits. Transcript

S1 Ep6: How a Standard Oil PR Guy Shaped Post-War America

In 1944 the greatest threat to American industry wasn't World War II, it was convincing Americans to fall back in love with free-market capitalism after having experienced government systems that actually worked for the greater good. In the season finale of Rigged, we lay out the strategy contained in a never-before-published confidential document from the archive of Earl Newsom, Standard Oil of New Jersey's (today ExxonMobil) top PR guy from the late '30s to the late '60s. Transcript