Crooked Media

From Podpedia
Crooked Media
File:Crooked Media Logo.png
File:Crooked media screenshot.png
Website Screenshot
Type of site
News and political commentary
Available inEnglish
Key peopleJon Favreau (Co-founder), Jon Lovett (Co-founder), Tommy Vietor (Co-founder), Dan Pfeiffer (Host), Ana Marie Cox (Host), DeRay Mckesson (Host), Jason Kander (Host), Ira Madison III (Host), Brian Beutler (Editor-in-Chief) [1]
Slogan(s)"We couldn’t find a place to talk about politics the way actual human beings talk. So we decided to create one."
LaunchedJanuary, 2017

Crooked Media is an American political media company. It was founded in 2017 by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor, all former top Barack Obama staffers and co-hosts, with Dan Pfeiffer, of the Keepin' it 1600 podcast.

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. By November of its first year, the podcast had been downloaded over 120 million times.[2]

The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California.[3]

History[edit | edit source]

Favreau, Lovett, Vietor and Pfeiffer hosted The Ringer's Keepin' it 1600 political podcast from March 2016 until December 2016.[4]

After Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 Presidential Election, Favreau, Lovett and Vietor decided they wanted to do podcasting and activism on a full-time basis. In an interview with Recode's Kara Swisher, Vietor explained that “If Hillary had won, we probably would’ve kept doing this as a hobby... But when she lost, I think we all had this existential crisis, where it didn’t feel right to wake up every day and obsess about politics and what’s happening in the country, and then go to work doing something else.”[3]

The quartet ended Keepin' it 1600 in December 2016. Favreau, Lovett and Vietor formed their own company, Crooked Media, and, the following month, launched a new podcast called Pod Save America.[5] Pfeiffer opted not to join the company, and instead co-host the Thursday edition of the show.[6]

Crooked Media is named after a favorite term used by President 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.”[7]

The company announced a major expansion in October 2017 with the launch of, 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 diverse group of journalists, activists, organizers, policy experts, campaign veterans and comedians who will be featured in podcasts, videos, and articles produced by the company.[8]

The company is not raising money from outside investors; instead using advertising revenue to fund the business.[3]

Podcasts[edit | edit source]

Crooked Media produces and distributes a range of podcasts.

Pod Save America[edit | edit source]

An American progressive political podcast "for people not yet ready to give up or go insane." Pod Save America airs twice weekly, with the Monday edition hosted by Favreau, Vietor and Lovett, and the Thursday edition by Favreau and Pfeiffer. Pod Save America is noted for its focus on activism.[7][9][10]

Pod Save the People[edit | edit source]

Hosted by organizer and activist DeRay Mckesson,[11][12] 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.[13]

Pod Save the World[edit | edit source]

Hosted by Vietor, a former national security council spokesman in the Obama administration. Pod Save the World attempts to discuss foreign policy and international relations in a relatable and down to earth way. The show brings listeners behind the scenes into White House Situation Room meetings and secret negotiations through a series of conversations with people who were there. The podcast also focuses on what listeners can do to make an impact on global events.[14]

Lovett or Leave It[edit | edit source]

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.[15]

With Friends Like These[edit | edit source]

Hosted by political journalist Ana Marie Cox. With Friends Like These delves into social, cultural, and, to a lesser extent, political issues through in-depth interviews. Namely, how to bridge divides in our society and approach through conversations with peers. Cox focuses on attempting to have difficult conversations in a public space.[16]

Crooked Conversations[edit | edit source]

Hosted by members of the company's 'Crooked Contributor' network. Crooked Conversations features deeper dives into topics less tied to the latest headlines.[17]

Majority 54 With Jason Kander[edit | edit source]

Hosted by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander. Majority 54 explores how Democrats can talk to Trump voters about divisive issues.[18]

Keep It[edit | edit source]

Hosted by culture critic and columnist Ira Madison III. Comedians, journalists, actors, musicians, activists, politicians, and others join Madison for a conversation at the intersection of pop culture and politics.[19]

Touring[edit | edit source]

Crooked Media embarked on its first tour, Pod Tours America, in fall of 2017. The tour featured live versions of Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave it, and appearances from Mckesson, Cox, various members of the 'Crooked Contributors' network, and special guests.[20] Live shows are recorded and released as podcasts.

A second tour, Pod Tours the World, was announced for 2018, with live shows in Stockholm, Oslo, Amsterdam and London.[21]

Activism[edit | edit source]

Unlike more traditional media organisations, Crooked Media engages directly in political activism, including advocating for policies and candidates, supporting get out the vote efforts, raising money, and driving phone calls and demonstrations.[2]

During its first year, it partnered with progressive advocacy group MoveOn to send nearly 2,000 Pod Save America listeners to Republican town-hall meetings, with Swing Left to raise over a million dollars for challengers to House Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections, and with Indivisible to drive phone calls in favour of the Affordable Care Act. In the 2017 Virginia elections, the company lent its support to Democratic candidates across the ballot, including Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam in the state's governor race.[2]

Towards the end of 2017, the company launched 'The Crooked 7' in partnership with Swing Left, a new initiative to raise money to flip seven California House districts held by Republicans in the 2018 midterm elections.[22]

Reception[edit | edit source]

The company's podcasts regularly sit near the top of the iTunes list of most popular podcasts.[7] The New York Times has called Crooked Media 'the left’s answer to conservative talk radio'.[2] Pod Save America was called 'the nation’s most popular political podcast' by Newsweek.[23] 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."[24]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. [1] (accessed November 8th, 2017).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Zengerle, Jason (2017-11-22). "The Voices in Blue America's Head". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-22. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Crooked Media's founders aren't paying themselves anything". Recode. Retrieved 2018-01-02. 
  4. "'Keepin' It 1600' Hosts Launch New Podcast 'Pod Save America' Via DGital Media". All Access. Retrieved 2017-12-22. 
  5. "'Keeping It 1600' Podcast's Obama Alums Launch New Show and 'Crooked Media' Company". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-12-22. 
  6. Hartmann, Margaret. "Keepin' It 1600 Crew Launches New Podcast, 'Crooked Media' Company". Daily Intelligencer. Retrieved 2018-01-02. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Rutenberg, Jim (2017-03-20). "Opposition and a Shave: Former Obama Aides Counter Trump". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-13. 
  8. "Crooked Media expands from podcasts to text, with a new site and plans for investigative reporting". Nieman Lab. Retrieved 2017-12-22. 
  9. Gillies, Craille Maguire (January 18, 2017). "Pod save America: 12 podcasts to get you through the Trump presidency". The Guardian. 
  10. "CROOKED MEDIA FIGHTS TRUMP WITH "POD SAVE AMERICA"". Newsweek. 2017-03-26. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  11. "Crooked Media Launches Pod Save the People | Podcaster News". Retrieved 2017-05-18. 
  12. S, Darren; Reporter, s BuzzFeed News. "DeRay Mckesson Is Going To Host A Crooked Media Podcast". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2017-05-18. 
  13. "Pod Save The People Archives | Crooked Media". Crooked Media. Retrieved 2018-01-02. 
  14. "Pod Save the World by Crooked Media on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  15. Verdier, Hannah (2017-03-30). "Lovett or Leave It: the Pod Save America crew take the political panel show and make it funny". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  16. "How the Crooked Media trio is taking on Donald Trump with "Pod Save America"". Newsweek. 2017-03-26. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  17. "Crooked Media Announces New Site, Podcast & Store". Publishing Executive. Retrieved 2018-01-02. 
  20. "Pod Save America announces nationwide tour". Consequence of Sound. 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2018-01-02. 
  21. "Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It are coming to London in January, here's how to get tickets". The List. 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2018-01-02. 
  22. "'Pod Save America' about to take its next step". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-01-02. 
  23. "How the Crooked Media trio is taking on Donald Trump with "Pod Save America"". Newsweek. 2017-03-26. Retrieved 2018-01-02. 
  24. Verdier, Hannah (2017-01-26). "Pod Save America – the podcast that won Obama's last interview". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-01-02. 

External links[edit | edit source]