Alternative media pioneer and political commentator Michael Rivero joins James on this week’s Real Politik. Rivero is the founder of whatreallyhappened.com and host of The What Really Happened Radio Show, syndicated Monday thru Friday on Genesis Communications Network, and available daily via streaming and podcast here.
The two discuss Rivero’s political awakening, his twenty year involvement in alternative media as a blogger and broadcaster, the ingredients of What Really Happened’s continued success, and national and global events that portend a new era of social and political awareness. With the idea of renewal in mind, Rivero is working on a book, The Blueprint for the New America, which he plans to have completed in 2016.
As at least some readers may know, Michael Rivero grew up partway in New England before moving out west to eventually wind up behind the cameras as a Hollywood special effects technician. My family moved to Los Angeles and my first career ambition was actually in the sciences,” he recalls.
I won a scholarship in high school and because of that I got hired by the jet propulsion laboratory for summers while I was starting my college education. I was basically there for the great post-Apollo aerospace slowdown. We beat the Russians and they were slashing NASA’s budget. I found myself kind of out of work. But very briefly after moving to Los Angeles my mother had tried to get me and my two younger brothers into show business. She was a blooming stage mother, as it were. I did some commercials and a few other small things like that.
Then a friend of a friend of a friend heard about my strange dual background of having worked a little bit of show business, and at the same time knowing all about this brand new technology just making its way into Hollywood called the small personal computer. They sent me over to this small cinder block hole in Van Nuys called Industrial Light and Magic
Michael had a very rewarding career in the film industry through the 1980s and early 1990s, working on films such as Star Trek The Motion Picture, Alligator, Firefox, and “a bunch of commercials … I was at the right place at the right time. I rode that cutting edge of the computer revolution and was doing OK.” Then what was perhaps inevitable happened.
I really did not start wanting to be a truth activist or a political commentator. It really came about just by accident. I was working at a company in Hollywood, which shared the same building as CNN, and I also had a small animation shop in my home in North Hollywood. One day in 1994 I was working in my home shop and I had the TV feed going just to sort of make noise and keep me company. I saw this picture pop up on the screen. It was on ABC News, and it was a photo supposedly of the hand of White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster next to the gun with which he supposedly committed suicide. And knowing what looks real and doesn’t look real in imagery was my business. And the instant I looked at the picture, I said, “This is a fake. This is staged. There are so many things wrong with this.”
So I got a hard copy of the picture, and the next day I was down at that company that I was doing a project for. And during lunch I was showing the picture around and saying, “This is wrong, that’s wrong. There’s no lividity, there’s no blood visible on this white sleeve.” And I remember very clearly some people from CNN at the next table listening to me very intently. And that night we started getting threatening phone calls and I was let go from that project the very next day. I was blacklisted from Hollywood. People I’d known for years were just scared to talk to me because they didn’t want their careers to evaporate.
The experience led Rivero to his early work in investigative journalism. “I started digging in a little bit further to the Foster case. I found official FBI documents–302 forms–which showed they were faking the testimony of Lisa Foster–Vincent’s widow–guarding the identification of the gun found with the body. And the more I looked the more I realized that this was a huge coverup. This was a murder made to look like a suicide. Like Homeland Security says, I’d seen something and I said something, and my career was just absolutely obliterated for it.”
Despite being blacklisted in Los Angeles, Rivero found work with a Japanese film company that moved him and his wife Claire to Hawaii to work on a project. Thereafter he has worked on a variety of television projects while establishing the What Really Happened website. “All during that time I kept on working on the website and looking in to all these little coverups, and slowly coming to the inevitable realization that most of what we are told by the corporate media, public schools, even Hollywood is a load of junk. The readership of What Really Happened exploded. Then in 2007 Alex Jones–I’d been on his show a few times–called me up and said, ‘We’d like you to take a show at Genesis Communications Network.’ So that was my start in talk radio.”
Rivero explains how thanks to the internet the alternative media of which What Really Happened is a part have now surpassed corporate-owned print, broadcast, and online mass media.
Twenty one years ago I was a blogger before the word actually existed, and back then it was just a small fringe group of people. But over time, as more and more corporate media and government lies stand exposed, like Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons of mass destruction, the biggest change is that audience has shifted. The corporate media networks like to sell their advertising rates based on their share of the available audience. But what they don’t talk about is their available audience has been shrinking consistently for the last 15 years. The inside term is called “viewer flight,” and they don’t want to talk about it. But as a result ad revenues are down at these large networks, and it doesn’t help that we’ve had these recent scandals with Brian Williams and various other reporters who’ve been caught out embellishing tales of their own heroism and daring do.
Right now the reality is that polls are showing and confirming the majority of Americans are now getting their political information from the internet and from the independent media. I have more people reading my website than read any big city newspapers. Of course, the big money is still going to the corporate media because anybody can tell the truth for free, but a really convincing lie–that gets a high paycheck in the United States.