Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator

Category: Industries
Author: Ryan Holiday
All Hacker News 7
This Month Reddit 6


by btilly   2020-06-27
You are not just better at noticing it. It really is more slanted.

Journalism 20-30 years ago was mostly funded on a subscription model. In this model they work hard to maintain their reputation, so that people will trust them as an accurate source of news.

Journalism today is mostly funded per click. Which means that the most important thing is a headline that grabs people's attention and causes them to click. The incentive is for the most outrageous and attention grabbing headline possible. With no incentive for being accurate - by the time you realize that the article is junk they've been paid and are looking for another sucker.

If you're interested in a book length exposition of how this change in dynamics has changed the news landscape, I recommend The trends that it discusses have played out for another decade since it was written, but played out along the direction that it described.

by eNonsense   2019-11-17

I remember reading a story in "Trust Me, I'm Lying; Confessions of a Media Manipulator" where the agent of an author wasn't getting any good marketing coverage for his client's new book, so the agent starting pulling the "angry consumer" shtick, calling/writing into different media outlets (bloggers, radio, etc..), pretending to be pissed off about the book. No one had heard of it, but eventually some of them started writing about how insulting & disgusting it was, just based on the agent's complaint.

It worked. No publicity is bad publicity.

edit: Since people are seeing this, you should read this book. The guy (former American Apparel advertising exec) did this tell-all book because he saw the media's standards dropping and his industry's tricks starting to be used in things like politics. It will destroy your confidence in ever believing anything you read on the internet, reddit definitely included. Good for honing your bullshit detector.

edit 2: I am not affiliated in any way with this book. You are not being manipulated ��

by general_0408   2019-11-17

This isn't a short and sweet answer by any means, but if you're interested in understanding what it is about modern-day journalism that makes it so intrinsically difficult for honest journalism to flourish, I highly suggest you read Trust Me, I'm Lying by Ryan Holiday. I jut got done reading it a few weeks ago and found it fascinating.

by aragorn831   2019-11-17

You are asking good questions. I appreciate your openness and I hope I can add something here. I hope we are not divided as it feels sometimes. Also, you might find it comforting that our country has survived division of similar if not greater magnitude before.

" why can’t you adults do the same "- I hope you will find that some of us can. Can you think of a marketing strategy for us? How many clicks/views would this headline get: "Nobody slams anybody- two dudes who disagree have an amicable conversation and agree to keep the dialog open despite disagreement" Are you familiar with the phrase "If it bleeds, it leads" ?

Also, I will note that nuanced argument takes more time and effort than the sort of shit in the two links below:


Here is an anti-Trump post relying on an emotional appeal. How much of the Republican party do you think this picture accurately represents? Does it matter what the opposition looks like?

Here is an anti-liberal post based on a straw man argument. (IE- they are dunking on an imaginary liberal, they didn't find a person- let alone a majority of people- who espouse this view)


For more on the financial incentives involved in sensational headlines I like this book:

by JonBon13   2019-01-13

I suggest starting off with Ryan Holiday's book .

by BoosMyller   2019-01-13

As much as I wanna say this guy is a douchebag/idiot and karma will come back around... that’s not how the internet works. We’re all giving him free press right now.

by mathperson   2017-08-20
yes precisely! i'm sure Facebook's methods are very susceptible to these types of attacks. Hopefully they still are in 6 years and we can get jobs fixing this for them lol.

I also really recommend this book

The type of attack is a lot more oldschool but nonetheless, pretty effective.

by droopybuns   2017-08-20
I read this and my first instinct was "what PR team pitched this story?"

Maybe none. But one way the times could re establish credibility with me is to be transparent about how much the writer engaged with pr reps or communications teams in each story. It doesn't have to be exhaustive.

By the way- Part of my journey to this level of skepticism was "Trust me, I'm Lying" by Ryan Holiday

by rebeltrillionaire   2017-08-19

My friend wrote this book, he was American Apparel's Marketing Director and basically their entire PR while Dov was in charge. Some of the better chapters were on managing your reputation in today's world and against the Internet.

But to be honest it sounds like shitty work. Here's his last interview where he basically says his life was putting out all these fires he never started and it stressed him out to the point ruining himself.

by artsynudes   2017-08-19

For social media you should check out different company blogs. Those are really helpful. I like the Buffer and Hootsuite blogs a lot.

But books are way better than online websites

For marketing you should read Traction by Gabriel Weinberg

Ryan Holiday's Growth Hacker Marketing and Trust Me, I'm Lying are insanely informative and fun to read.