Trading up the chain

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Trading up the chain is a marketing and propaganda tactic of deliberately inducing circular reporting, by seeding a message or claim in a less-credible medium, with the intent of it being quoted and repeated by publications (or people) who appeal to a wider audience. Those more-authoritative sources are then cited, to build up the message's credibility and publicize it further.[1][2][3] Trading up the chain can be a tactic for disinformation and media manipulation.[4]

The term was publicized by the author and marketer Ryan Holiday, who described its use in marketing and politics.[1][2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Trading Up The Chain: Mainstream Media Takes Cues from Blogosphere". Observer. 2014-04-23. Retrieved 2020-08-16.
  2. ^ a b Holiday, Ryan (2012). Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. Penguin. ISBN 978-1101583715.
  3. ^ Donovan, Joan (October 24, 2019). "How memes got weaponized: A short history". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  4. ^ Krafft, P. M.; Donovan, Joan (2020-03-03). "Disinformation by Design: The Use of Evidence Collages and Platform Filtering in a Media Manipulation Campaign". Political Communication. 37 (2): 194–214. doi:10.1080/10584609.2019.1686094. ISSN 1058-4609.