Alternative media pioneer and political commentator Michael Rivero joins James on this week’s Real Politik. Rivero is the founder of 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.


Interview Highlights

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.

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18 thought on “What Really Happened?”
  1. Michael Rivero is a brilliant analyst, critical thinker and communicator. To bounce from topic to topic, question to question with such unerring eloquence and pinpoint accuracy is extraordinary.

    My only criticism, and I admit it may be petty, is that he shows himself slovenly attired daily in front of his bank of computers while broadcasting. Most people, I believe, who see him this way for the first time, can easily dismiss him as a just another kook broadcasting from his basement.

    In other words, if you listen to this interview on the James Tracy program, you can not help but be impressed. But he can be easily marginalized by the puppet masters, not to mention our fellow citizens that are used to a more professional appearance.

    1. He’s a Hawaiian and they may have that kind of dress code. It may give him a much more mainstream look for the community, rather than counter-cultural. A colorful flowered shirt is the coat and tie of the east coast.

    2. Thanks, James. Mr. Rivero surely knows his stuff and shows no fear to expose those who plot, manipulate and murder to advance their agenda. So much was covered in fifty minutes, but I have to say that I was most happy to hear him mention how those in power “assassinated” Helen Thomas, the last of the White House correspondents who dared to ask some real questions.

  2. Wow – so few comments so far? I used to listen to What Really Happened daily until Michael Rivero started saying that beheading isn’t a bad death…repeatedly. I couldn’t take his nearly always present anti-Semitism and his utter disbelief that ISIS truly exists and is not a Sandy Hoax…

    That said, I really did very often enjoy listening to his show.

    Btw, Benazir Bhutto told the BBC many years ago that Osama had been assassinated. I believe her.

    1. I couldn’t take his nearly always present anti-Semitism and his utter disbelief that ISIS truly exists and is not a Sandy Hoax…

      A rather confusing, contradictory, perhaps trollish remark. Hence the reluctance to post

      1. How is my comment contradictory? Because I enjoyed listening to the parts of the show that were not about Israel or Isis?

        Thanks for posting. I owe you an apology about censoring.

  3. enjoyed the interview Jimbo, but I guess the one I really wanted to hear is Wolf’s post-FOIA meeting interview. I heard one with terrible audio that was tough to listen to.

  4. Eric Goodhart says:
    May 1, 2015 at 10:40 AM
    Michael Rivero is a brilliant analyst, critical thinker and communicator. To bounce from topic to topic, question to question with such unerring eloquence and pinpoint accuracy is extraordinary.

    Well said and I concur with each word. Loved the way Rivero expedited the discussion sans asides and irrelevant observations–which Alex Jones might emulate. Jones often dilutes importrant messages in a sea of personal one-liners or elongated narratives.

    Am I too judgmental? Even when he apologises for digressions, he loses my attention.

  5. I know there aren’t many comments but the Interview speaks for it’s self.

    I didn’t know Mike’s background and how well rounded he was and what he has gone through just trying to tell the truth.

    Don’t diss me, but I’m glad he didn’t trash AJ as most do that worked for him before.

    I’m not siding, just shows he a bigger man if there was any issues, not that there were.

  6. In the interview James asks about Tom Paine’s connection to the Declaration of Independence. This brought to mind a Robert Wenzel article Lew Rockwell published on 7/6/13, about an Andrew J. Galambos lecture series ( Here’s Wenzel:

    Among many other points in the fascinating lecture series, Galambos makes clear that he believes that it was Thomas Paine not Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence. He has me convinced.

    It’s been a couple of years since I listened to it, but I was persuaded, too. Unfortunately, the link he provided in the LRC articles no longer operative. But it CAN be found at the waybackmachine:

  7. “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’m not sure which is worse; that people get news produced by trained professionals who are kept on the leash by their corporate masters & the political machine…or that people are forced to go to the Internet for news, the only place on Earth where facts & professionalism are even more rare than in today’s mainstream media.

    We are stuck in an ocean of lies, propaganda, advertorial and deafening silence. It’s to the point where we must collect slivers of truth and try to interpret them like reading tea leaves, or chicken entrails.

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