Cover art for podcast DRILLED


29 EpisodesProduced by Critical FrequencyWebsite

A true-crime podcast about climate change.

29 Episodes | 2018 - 2020

Drilled: A True Crime Podcast about Climate Change

October 21st, 2018


Launching November 14th, Drilled is a limited series investigative true-crime podcast about the crime of the century: the creation of climate denial.

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The Bell Labs of Energy

November 14th, 2018


In the 1970s and early 1980s, Exxon wanted to be the Bell Labs of energy. It hired brilliant scientists who conducted cutting-edge research on everything from the "greenhouse effect" to renewable energy. At the time, …

The Turn

November 15th, 2018


As the price of oil dipped in the early 1980s, management changed at most oil companies and the industry as a whole became more concerned with …

Weaponizing False Equivalence

November 16th, 2018


As climate disinformation campaigns ramped up in the 1990s, oil companies and their PR firms exploited weaknesses in the U.S. media system and propped up "contrarian" scientists to push the narrative of scientific …

Exploiting Scientists' Kryptonite: Certainty

November 17th, 2018

In addition to using journalists' views on their own objectivity against them, oil companies exploited various weaknesses in science, namely scientists' tendency toward not prioritizing or valuing good communication …

Aggressive Think Tanks, Shouty Pundits, and a New Religious Argument

November 17th, 2018


To make media manipulation and lobbying truly effective, oil companies and their public relations firms also had to shift the culture, influencing …

The First Step to Influencing Policy: Setting Research Agendas

November 17th, 2018


If you unravel climate policy back to its origins, eventually you get to academic research. Although oil companies dramatically reduced their own …

Campaigns So Successful They've Landed in Court

November 17th, 2018

The fossil fuel industry's decades-long information war was so successful that even though oil companies themselves began publicly accepting climate …

Winning the War

November 18th, 2018

Fossil fuel industry influence campaigns ensured that we lost a critical 30 years not taking action on climate change. But all is not lost. The …

Big Oil's New Story: The First Amendment Covers Climate Denial

February 5th, 2019


In a batch of aggressive countersuits, Exxon is accusing the counties, cities, and states of conspiring to quash its First Amendment rights to …

Coming Soon: Hot Water, a New Drilled Series

April 3rd, 2019

In 2015 a warm water "blob," the result of both warming oceans and shifting wind patterns, wreaked havoc on West Coast fishing towns. Three years …

S2E1: A Crisis, a Cover-Up, and a Community on the Front Lines of Climate Change

April 22nd, 2019


In 2015, West Coast crab fishermen were shut down by climate change. Atmospheric changes had warmed waters and upended everything from the food chain …

S2E2: A Late Season and a Shaky Future

April 22nd, 2019


As the 2015 delay wears on, and holiday markets come and go, crabbers are getting desperate. Some are forced out of business, others worry that this …

S2E3: Two Lawsuits at Once, Both Driven by Climate Change

April 29th, 2019


Now facing annual closures due to climate change, crabbers learn some new information that spurs them to become the first industry to sue Big Oil. 

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S2E4 Taking Big Oil to Court

May 6th, 2019


As the crabbers' lawsuit against the world's 30 largest fossil fuel producers is filed, we take a look at the evidence, and what exactly sent …

S2E5 David vs. Goliath

May 13th, 2019


As the first industry to sue Big Oil, the West Coast crab fishery is likely to meet an even tougher fight than the states, counties, and cities …

S2E6: Facing Extinction

May 20th, 2019


As the crabbers' 2018-2019 season comes to an abrupt close, they prepare for a year that could see the fishery close altogether. Meanwhile the oil …

Big Oil Is Ramping Up PR Spend and Oil Production

August 15th, 2019


Two new reports highlight that, since the Paris Agreement in 2016, the fossil fuel industry has ramped up both oil production and greenwashing. Plus: why the heck are mainstream media outlets making Big Oil's ads for …

Fake Reporters and #FakeNews: How Fossil Fuel Companies Hide Behind Energy Blogs

September 3rd, 2019


A look at how those fossil fuel-backed deception campaigns are continuing today, behind a couple layers of energy industry organizations, alliances, and "news" sites. Documentation: Western Energy Alliance 990, showing …

Recap: ExxonMobil's New York Fraud Trial

November 8th, 2019


New York's fraud trial against ExxonMobil closed November 7th. Reporter Emily Gertz and Union of Concerned Scientist's Kathy Mulvey watched it …

Youth Climate Suits and Inter-generational Injustice

November 28th, 2019


In the Juliana vs. The United States case, a group of young people sued the government for incentivizing increased fossil fuel dependence, thereby …

S3: The Mad Men of Climate Denial

December 5th, 2019


Big Oil gave Hitler propaganda tips decades ago and their PR machine has only grown from there. This season we dig into the history of fossil fuel propaganda and the few "Mad Men of climate denial" who shaped it. Coming …

S3, Ep 1: The Father of Public Relations

January 21st, 2020


In this season we're tackling Big Oil's big propaganda machine—its origins, the spin masters who created it, and why it's been so effective. It all began more than 100 years ago with Standard Oil, John D. Rockefeller …

S3, Ep 2: The Oil-Nazi-Propaganda Triangle

January 21st, 2020


Ivy Lee worked with Standard Oil and the Rockefellers for the rest of his life, helping to establish the American Petroleum Institute in 1919, and …

S3, Ep 3: Psychological Warfare, Astroturfing, and Another Tobacco-Oil Connection

January 28th, 2020


Daniel Edelman learned the tools of his trade combatting Nazi propaganda in WWII, then came home and put his psychological warfare training to work …

S3, Ep 4: Oil Slick, Part 1—The Rise of the Corporate Persona

February 4th, 2020


Mobil Oil's longtime PR guy Herb Schmertz really started to aggressively manipulate the media. He introduced so many new bells and whistles to Big …

S3, Ep 5: Oil Slick, Part 2—False Equivalence and Free Speech

February 11th, 2020


In part two of our episode on former Mobil VP Herb Schmertz, we dig into how Schmertz's approach bred false equivalence, and why he pushed so hard for the extension of First Amendment rights to corporations.

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We Interrupt This Podcast for New Research + Emily Atkin and Guardian CEO Anna Bateson on Banning Fossil Fuel Ads

February 18th, 2020


We'll be back with more Mad Men tales next week, we promise! While we're out chasing leads, listen to this great interview from Emily Atkin with The Guardian's interim CEO Anna Bateson about that publication's decision …

S3, Ep 6: Manipulating the Masses and Predicting the Future—Edward Bernays and W. Howard Chase

February 25th, 2020


Sigmund Freud's nephew, Edward Bernays, coined the term "public relations" when propaganda started to become a negative term. His specialty was using …

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