Crooked Media

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Crooked Media
The word "Crooked" in all caps, with yellow horizontal lines surrounding it.
Type of site
News and political commentary
Available inEnglish
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California[1]
Country of originUnited States
Founder(s)
EditorBrian Beutler (Editor-in-Chief)
Key people
  • Sarah Wick (COO)
  • Tanya Somanader (CCO)
  • Neil Varghese (CFO)[2]
IndustryMedia production
URLcrooked.com
LaunchedJanuary 2017; 7 years ago (2017-01)

Crooked Media is a progressive American political media company.[3] It was founded in 2017 by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor, all former top Barack Obama staffers and former co-hosts of the Keepin' It 1600 podcast. Dan Pfeiffer, also a former Obama employee, co-hosts their flagship podcast Pod Save America with them.

The company's offerings encompass a network of podcasts; a news and opinion website; live shows and tours; and a social media and live streaming presence. It aims to foster open conversation between liberals and support grassroots activism and political participation.

The company's flagship podcast, Pod Save America, airs twice weekly and averages more than 1.5 million listeners an episode. In Fall 2018, four Pod Save America one-hour specials aired on HBO.[4] By November of its first year, the podcast had been downloaded more than 120 million times, and 175 million times by February 2018.[5][6]

The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.[1]

History[edit]

Favreau, Lovett, Vietor, and Pfeiffer hosted The Ringer's Keepin' It 1600 political podcast from March 2016 until December 2016.[7]

In 2016 Favreau, Lovett, and Vietor started podcasting and activism on a full-time basis. The three formed the Crooked Media company in January 2017 and launched a new podcast called Pod Save America the following month.[8] Pfeiffer opted not to join the company, and instead to co-host the Thursday edition of the show.[9] Crooked Media is named after a favorite term used by Donald Trump. When asked whether he thought Crooked Media was a 'media company', Favreau said, "I don't know if it's a political movement or a media company".[10]

The company announced a major expansion in October 2017 with the launch of Crooked.com, a text journalism site helmed by Editor-In-Chief Brian Beutler, a former New Republic senior editor. The expansion introduced the 'Crooked Contributors' network—a group of progressive journalists, activists, organizers, policy experts, campaign veterans, and comedians who would be featured in podcasts, videos, and articles produced by the company.[11]

The company uses advertising revenue to fund the business.[1]

Hosts[edit]

List of all Crooked Media podcast hosts
Host Podcast Notes
Abdul El-Sayed America Dissected
Aida Osman Keep It
Alyssa Mastromonaco Hysteria
Ana Marie Cox With Friends Like These
Ben Rhodes
  • Pod Save the World
  • Missing America
Clint Smith III Pod Save the People
Coco Khan Pod Save the UK
Dan Pfeiffer Pod Save America
De'Ara Balenger Pod Save the People
DeRay Mckesson Pod Save the People
Dr. Imani Walker Imani State of Mind
Erin Ryan Hysteria
Gideon Resnick What a Day
Ira Madison III Keep It
Jason Concepcion
  • Takeline
  • X-Ray Vision
Jon Favreau
  • Pod Save America
  • The Wilderness
  • Offline
Jon Lovett
  • Pod Save America
  • Lovett or Leave It
Josie Duffy Rice What a Day
Kaya Henderson Pod Save the People
Kate Shaw Strict Scrutiny
Leah Litman Strict Scrutiny
Louis Virtel Keep It
Megan "MegScoop" Thomas Imani State of Mind
Melissa Murray Strict Scrutiny
Nish Kumar Pod Save the UK
Patrick Radden Keefe Wind of Change
Phillip Picardi Unholier Than Thou
Priyanka Aribindi What a Day
Rachel Bonnetta Hall of Shame
Rachna Fruchbom Hall of Shame
Tre'vell Anderson What a Day
Rebecca Nagle This Land
Renee Montgomery Takeline
Samuel Sinyangwe Pod Save the People
Juanita Tolliver What a Day
Tommy Vietor
  • Pod Save America
  • Pod Save the World

Podcasts[edit]

Crooked Media produces and distributes podcasts with numerous hosts, focusing on news and politics.

Pod Save America[edit]

Pod Save America is a twice weekly progressive political podcast. On Tuesdays it is hosted by Favreau, Vietor, and Lovett, and on Thursdays it is hosted by Favreau and Pfeiffer. Pod Save America explicitly aims to encourage its listeners to engage in activism and political persuasion.[10][12][13]

Pod Save America has run a number of special series and mini-series. For example, Tommy Vietor hosted a series on the 2020 Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses,[14] and Dan Pfeiffer and Alyssa Mastromonaco hosted a series on the vice presidential candidate selection process.[15]

Pod Save the People[edit]

Hosted by organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson,[16][17] Pod Save the People talks about culture, social justice, and politics by exploring the history, the language, and the people who are shaping the struggle for progress — and talking about the steps that each individual can take to make a difference.[18]

Pod Save the World[edit]

Hosted by Vietor and former Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, Pod Save the World discusses foreign policy and international relations.[19]

Lovett or Leave It[edit]

Hosted by Lovett, former speech and joke writer for President Obama. Lovett or Leave it is a recording of a weekly live show and features the eponymous host dissecting the news with a panel of guests. The show features a variety of games, as well as one-on-one interviews that center around the week's news and American politics.[20]

Other series[edit]

Other podcasts that have been produced and distributed by Crooked Media include:

Tours[edit]

Crooked Media has produced multiple live tours. The first tour by Crooked Media podcasts was in fall of 2017. The tour featured live versions of Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave it, and appearances from DeRay Mckesson, Ana Marie Cox, and other guests.[42] Crooked Media tours have not just visited locations in the United States, including a 2018 tour with performances in Stockholm, Oslo, Amsterdam, and London.[43]

Activism[edit]

Crooked Media engages directly in political activism, including advocating for liberal policies and candidates, supporting get out the vote efforts, raising money, and encouraging political demonstrations.[5] In elections from 2017 onwards, the company has collaborated with MoveOn on direct activism efforts, such as directing Pod Save America listeners to Republican town-hall meetings, and with Swing Left and Indivisible to raise money and encourage activism relevant to the 2018 United States elections and the Affordable Care Act.[5][44] The Los Angeles Times reported that according to Crooked Media, it raised $2.7 million and directed 22,000 volunteers to fill shifts in competitive races during the 2018 midterms.[45]

In May 2019, the Crooked Media campaign "Vote Save America" launched the Fuck Gerry(mandering) fund with Data for Progress to direct listener's donations to 14 of the closest races in Virginia.[46][47] Ahead of the 2020 cycle, under the umbrella of Vote Save America, they raised $32 million in the third quarter of 2020, which was directed to Democratic candidates.[48] Through the Vote Save America program, Crooked Media has partnered with Fair Fight, an organization devoted to fighting voter suppression led by Stacey Abrams,[49] as well as with VoteRiders to spread state-specific information on voter ID requirements.[50]

Reception[edit]

The company's podcasts regularly sit near the top of the iTunes list of most popular podcasts.[10] New York Times has called Crooked Media 'the left's answer to conservative talk radio'.[5] Pod Save America was called "the nation's most popular political podcast" by Newsweek.[13] Reviewing the first episodes of the company's flagship podcast, The Guardian noted: "Pod Save America's commentators are sparky and funny—and they have a habit of talking a whole lot of sense."[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Johnson, Eric (March 15, 2017). "Crooked Media's founders aren't paying themselves anything". Vox.com. Recode. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  2. ^ "Team – Crooked Media". Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  3. ^ Jarvey, Natalie (January 15, 2021). "After the Resistance, What's Next for the Crooked Media Podcasting Empire?". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on April 18, 2022. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  4. ^ "Pod Save America Makes Leap to TV". HBO.
  5. ^ a b c d Zengerle, Jason (November 22, 2017). "The Voices in Blue America's Head". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  6. ^ O'Connell, Michael (February 8, 2018). "'Pod Save America' Getting HBO Treatment With Election Specials". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  7. ^ "'Keepin' It 1600' Hosts Launch New Podcast 'Pod Save America' Via DGital Media". All Access. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  8. ^ O'Connell, Michael (January 9, 2017). "'Keeping It 1600' Podcast's Obama Alums Launch New Show and 'Crooked Media' Company". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  9. ^ Hartmann, Margaret (January 9, 2017). "Keepin' It 1600 Crew Launches New Podcast, 'Crooked Media' Company". New York Magazine Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c Rutenberg, Jim (March 20, 2017). "Opposition and a Shave: Former Obama Aides Counter Trump". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  11. ^ Owen, Laura Hazard (October 5, 2017). "Crooked Media expands from podcasts to text, with a new site and plans for investigative reporting". Nieman Lab. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  12. ^ Gillies, Craille Maguire (January 18, 2017). "Pod save America: 12 podcasts to get you through the Trump presidency". The Guardian. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  13. ^ a b c Nazaryan, Alexander (March 26, 2017). "Crooked Media Fights Trump with "Pod Save America"". Newsweek. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  14. ^ "Pod Save America: On the ground in Iowa". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  15. ^ "That's the Ticket Episode 1: Vet on It". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  16. ^ Thorpe, Jen (April 27, 2017). "Crooked Media Launches Pod Save the People". Podcaster News. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  17. ^ S, Darren; Reporter, s BuzzFeed News. "DeRay Mckesson Is Going To Host A Crooked Media Podcast". BuzzFeed. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  18. ^ "Pod Save The People". Crooked.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  19. ^ "Pod Save the World by Crooked Media on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  20. ^ Verdier, Hannah (March 30, 2017). "Lovett or Leave It: the Pod Save America crew take the political panel show and make it funny". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  21. ^ "Hysteria". Crooked.com. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  22. ^ Hills, Megan C. (December 19, 2018). "Waking Up Has NEVER Been Easier With These Current Affairs & True Crime Podcasts". Bustle. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  23. ^ "Keep It". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  24. ^ "Crooked Media Announces New Site, Podcast & Store". Publishing Executive. October 5, 2017. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  25. ^ "The Wilderness". Crooked.com. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  26. ^ "This Land". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  27. ^ "America Dissected with Abdul El-Sayed". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  28. ^ "What a Day". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  29. ^ "Missing America". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  30. ^ "Wind of Change". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  31. ^ "Hall of Shame". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  32. ^ "Unholier Than Thou". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  33. ^ "Six Feet Apart". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  34. ^ "Rubicon". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  35. ^ White, Peter (March 4, 2021). "Crooked Media's Jason Concepcion Launches Podcast 'Takeline' With Ex-WNBA Star Renee Montgomery & Video Series 'All Caps NBA'". Deadline. Archived from the original on March 4, 2021. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  36. ^ "Offline with Jon Favreau Archives". Crooked Media. Retrieved March 4, 2022.
  37. ^ "X-Ray Vision Archives". Crooked Media. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  38. ^ "Imani State of Mind Archives". Crooked Media. Retrieved October 21, 2022.
  39. ^ Spangler, Todd (January 27, 2022). "Crooked Media Makes First Podcast Acquisitions: 'Strict Scrutiny' and 'Hot Take'". Archived from the original on January 27, 2022. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  40. ^ "The launch of Pod Save the UK". podnews.net. May 4, 2023. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  41. ^ Ibekwe, Desiree (April 25, 2023). "Can a Podcast Save the U.K.? Crooked Media Takes on British Politics". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 12, 2023.
  42. ^ Young, Alex (August 16, 2017). "Pod Save America announces nationwide tour". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  43. ^ Angus, Craig (December 1, 2017). "Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It are coming to London in January, here's how to get tickets". The List. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  44. ^ Garofoli, Joe (December 9, 2017). "'Pod Save America' about to take its next step". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  45. ^ Braslow, Samuel. "The Wildly Popular Dudes Who Power Pod Save America Have Moved Political Discourse to the Left…Coast". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  46. ^ Diavolo, Lucy (May 17, 2019). "The Team Behind Pod Save America Launches the F*ck Gerry(mandering) Fund". Teen Vogue. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  47. ^ Virginia, Blue (May 17, 2019). "Crooked Media and Data for Progress Launch Fundraising Effort to Flip Virginia Blue". BlueVirginia.us. Blue Virginia. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  48. ^ Holmes, Jack (October 12, 2020). "What Happens If Pod Saves America?". Esquire. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  49. ^ "Fair Fight 2020". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  50. ^ "Donation Policy". Crooked.com. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
  51. ^ Verdier, Hannah (January 26, 2017). "Pod Save America – the podcast that won Obama's last interview". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved January 2, 2018.

External links[edit]