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Hold Fast  By  cover art

Hold Fast

By: Trevor Aaronson, Sam Eifling, Michael Mooney
Narrated by: Trevor Aaronson, Sam Eifling, Michael Mooney
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Publisher's summary

Hold Fast is the uncompromising story of Backpage.com, the world’s most scandalous website, and the rise and fall of alternative weekly newspapers nationwide.

Over four decades, Michael Lacey and his business partner James Larkin built the largest, most influential company in alternative media—a colossal chain of muckraking newspapers that included The Village Voice, LA Weekly, Phoenix New Times, Dallas Observer, Miami New Times, and others. These alternative newspapers published writers who were fierce investigators, stylish storytellers, and astute cultural critics. These papers also published loads and loads of ads, including page after page of so-called “adult ads”—ambiguously written ads that appeared to offer illegal sexual services, but were nonetheless protected by the First Amendment.

As lucrative classified ads moved to the internet, cutting a hole in the money bag of newspapers everywhere, Lacey and Larkin founded Backpage.com, a classifieds website that would become synonymous with sex ads and scandal. The Justice Department alleges that Lacey and Larkin weren’t just newspapermen. They were, prosecutors say, the biggest pimps in the history of the world.

Reported, written, and hosted by three writers who once worked for Lacey’s newspaper chain—Trevor Aaronson, Sam Eifling, and Michael Mooney—Hold Fast is a romp through the weird history and boundary-pushing culture of alternative newspapers; the controversies surrounding Backpage.com and the government investigations; and fraught frontiers of free speech in America.

©2024 Trevor Aaronson, Sam Eifling, Michael Mooney (P)2024 Audible Originals, LLC.
About the Creator- Trevor Aaronson

About the Creator

Trevor Aaronson is the author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism. He is also the creator and host of the podcast series Alphabet Boys and the Audible Original American ISIS.

About the Creator- Sam Eifling

About the Creator

Sam Eifling has reported for The New Republic, the New York Times, the AP, Slate, Vice, Politico, Sports Illustrated, and Deadspin, and created and hosted the audio series Trust Us, about a shady offshore financial firm. His honors include a Sigma Delta Chi for newspaper feature writing; a Fund for Investigative Journalism reporting grant; and a staff Peabody Award as a news producer on Netflix’s Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj. He lives in Brooklyn.

About the Creator- Michael J. Mooney

About the Creator

Michael J. Mooney is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Life and Legend of Chris Kyle. He is a regular contributor to The Atlantic, GQ, ESPN the Magazine, Texas Monthly, and Politico. His stories have appeared in multiple editions of The Best American Crime Reporting and The Best American Sports Writing. From 2015 to 2019, he was director of the annual Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

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Blackbeard's diary basically

A well done capture of morally ambiguous pirates in the waning days of American journalism as we knew it. As someone privileged to ride along for a bit in the young writer churn& burn factory, I can attest Lacey and Co. were the best, the worst -- always a hell of a ride.

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Very interesting

I had never heard of this incident. It was very interesting. Times changed and the internet changed everything. I enjoyed the listen and learned a lot. Well done!

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