MIB: How Easily Is It to Manipulate the Media?

Ryan Holiday dropped out of college at 19, became director of marketing for American Apparel at 22. Managing PR at the controversial manufacturer was a crash course in how easily the media could be manipulated. All it took was a few salacious tidbits and a tease that a celebrity was involved, and they could be managed like sheep. His experiences led him to write Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator, kicking off his career as a writer.

He has since authored six books, most recently, “Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker and the Anatomy of Intrigue.” Covering the salacious litigation between Terry Bollea (a/k/a Hulk Hogan) against Gawker and its founder Nick Denton for the New York Observer, Holiday had been speaking to all parties involved. The litigation had been secretly bankrolled by Thiel (a 10 percent owner of Facebook pre-IPO). The result was a $140 million verdict against Denton and Gawker, leading to the bankruptcy of both.

After the verdict, both Thiel and Denton reached out to Holiday, to share key parts of the backstory to the trial that never made it into court. The result is a new book that is at the top of the Amazon sale charts.

His favorite books are referenced here; our conversation transcript is available here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunesBloombergOvercast, and Soundcloud. Our earlier podcasts can all be found on iTunesSoundcloudOvercast and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Lazard Asset Management’s James Donald, who serves as head of its Emerging Markets Equity team.



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