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Bad Bets

The Wall Street Journal

Bad Bets unravels big-business dramas that have had a big impact on our world. In Season 2, we delve into the story of Nikola founder Trevor Milton, who promised a future of zero-emission trucks but was taken down by a ragtag bunch of whistleblowers and short sellers. Season 2 is hosted by Ben Foldy. read less

Our Editor's Take

The Bad Bets podcast brings the stories of big egos, big promises, and no follow through. Each season examines a different corporate scandal that The Wall Street Journal investigated. These stories may have happened years ago, but they leave experts with questions to this day.

Enron is one of the stories that the Bad Bets podcast investigates. People spoke about Enron as one of the most visionary energy companies in the world back in 2001. Not only that, but it was also one of the most successful ones. There were Maseratis and Ferraris in the company's parking lot. But for some reason, its CEO resigned only six months after taking the role. Within a few months, Enron went from being at the top of the world to bankruptcy and scandal.

This mystery sent reporters John Emshwiller and Rebecca Smith on a journey. One where they could not have imagined the ending. As The Wall Street Journal reporters explored this story further, they discovered it was exactly that—a story. The rise of Enron was nothing but an elaborate fraud. And the fall surprised every employee and investor who bought into that story. Bad Bets explains the reporters' investigation.

Emshwiller hosts the first season of the Bad Bets podcast. He returned to his investigation 20 years later, still having questions to resolve. Since Emshwiller first broke the story, more and more information has become available. And the podcast builds on hundreds of interviews, reports, and court documents. Emshwiller assembles an elaborate timeline of the story and goes into the history and motive of each character. His captivating storytelling matches a superb production. The listener can almost see the movie of this saga rolling before their eyes.

Later seasons of the Bad Bets podcast change their host but stick to the same winning formula. They follow one unbelievable case of people in power who no one monitors. The host brings the audience into the center of the action and keeps the suspense from one episode to the other.

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