The increase in popularity of “Morally Dubious Podcasters”

In the popular Hulu series Only Murders In the Building, Adina Verson’s character Poppy serves as Cinda Canning’s troubled podcaster’s hapless assistant. Hulu hide caption – Patrick Harbron

switch to caption Patrick Harbron/Hulu

In the popular Hulu series Only Murders In the Building, Adina Verson’s Poppy serves as Cinda Canning’s troubled podcaster’s hapless assistant.

Hulu / Patrick Harbron The focus of one of this summer’s most popular shows is a shady true crime podcaster. Only Murders In the Building on Hulu follows three viewers of All Is Not OK in Oklahoma, a Serial-like program. By the end of season two, it is apparent that Tina Fey, who plays the host of the program, may actually be a cold-blooded killer herself.

She cries out to a helper, “I need something with famous people and blood!” “I need a murder, please. A decent one!”
Fey’s character is just one illustration of what appears to be a brand-new archetype in popular culture.
Call them the podcasters with questionable morals.

B.J. Novak portrays a self-serving journalist in the movie Vengeance who is marketing a podcast about the passing of a woman he had a brief relationship with.

In the Showtime series Dexter: New Blood, yet another immoral podcaster intrudes into a crime scene (and a police officer’s bed). Additionally, two ethically dubious podcasters go rogue in the sharp social comedy Rutherford Falls on Peacock, including an NPR reporter who ruins one of the main characters’ lives.

Nicholas Quah chuckles, “The morally questionable podcaster, I see.” He covers podcasts for Vulture and New York Magazine and knew the archetype right away. My favorites were the first ones I ever noticed: the true crime podcasters in Halloween 2018 who, according to spoilers, die horribly after pursuing Michael Myers.

However, Quah recalled an even earlier example from the 2014 Kevin Smith film Tusk and asserts that there is a reason why TV and movies are producing so many ethically questionable podcasters who are ravenous for fame and popularity. Real life would be the cause.

Look both up and down the Apple podcast charts , Quah commands. “There are numerous morally questionable real crime programs available. People who, in some situations, embellish and plagiarize the reporting of others in order to disseminate inaccurate information.”

In an article for one of the most well-known podcasts in the nation, Crime Junkie , Quah wrote about these problems. Of course, the sensational main topic of the New York Times podcast Caliphate, who claimed to be a member of ISIS, turned revealed to be a chronic liar in 2020, forcing the show to virtually retract itself.

However, morally questionable podcasters transcend beyond the true crime subgenre. A smarmy, racist podcaster who describes himself as “in the spirit of Plato, Nietzsche, and my particular podcasting idol, Mr. Joseph Rogen,” appears on the Peacock show Rutherford Falls.

This character epitomizes “the yap and slap,” as described by NPR pop culture podcaster Linda Holmes. She compares it to the early days of blogging when people would rant into a microphone in their basements and post the results online.

With very minimal technology, “you can launch a podcast tomorrow,” she observes. “similar to how you may establish a blog online. And what you get out of that is a lot of really good, professional people as well as some famous people who view it as a simple method to build their brands and manage their own publicity. There are talented individuals who haven’t been accepted into conventional media platforms.”

However, she continues, you also get swindlers, opportunists, and individuals who “do not follow the rules you would want them to follow.” The ethically questionable podcaster is, in some ways, the most recent iteration of the well-known character the stranger in town. It serves as a story-framer and expository tool.

But for now, when numerous polls show trust in the media collapsing , the podcaster with questionable morals wields special influence. You have no idea why she is here. Or perhaps what she is extracting from your truth.