The Matt Taibbi Thread

jarlo

Robin
Matt Taibbi is a prominent journalist who on policies/politically is generally quite left-wing, but has had strong critiques of the media over the last year. I think he is a useful journalist for you to follow and recommend to your left-wing friends and family, because they cannot discard him out of hand in the same way they can Tucker Carlson, Steve Bannon, or similar figures. I've created this thread to discuss Taibbi's articles and writing.

Taibbi's views and writing over his career have largely conformed to the mainstream media's tastes. Taibbi wrote a book called "Insane Clown President" on Trump, and "I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street" on the 2014 death of Eric Garner. However, Taibbi is genuinely a skilled writer, thinker, and journalist, and so he has had significant acclaim from establishment media/figures.

However, in the last two years, Taibbi has become in his writing highly critical of the media's behavior, especially regarding their biases on any reporting on Donald Trump. Last year, Taibbi published a book called "Hate Inc." which makes the point that the incentive structure of news doesn't lead to the truth, but instead to whatever maximizes entertainment.

From Wikipedia:

The book argues "that what most people think of as 'the news' is, in fact, a twisted wing of the entertainment business."It contains an interview with Noam Chomsky, whose 1988 book Manufacturing Consent heavily influenced Taibbi's writings. In Hate Inc., Taibbi inverts the phrase to "manufacturing discontent".

In March 2019, Taibbi published a portion titled "It's official: Russiagate is this generation's WMD", which argues that in light of the Mueller Report's conclusion that the investigation "did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities", much of what the mainstream media reported on the issue was exaggerated or outright false.

And in a recent article of his on Substack, he does a deep dive into the hypocrisy of the media in their failure to report on the Hunter Biden hard drive and its contents. Here are the first two paragraphs:

The incredible decision by Twitter and Facebook to block access to a New York Poststory about a cache of emails reportedly belonging to Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s son Hunter, with Twitter going so far as to lock the 200 year-old newspaper out of its own account for over a week, continues to be a major underreported scandal.

The hypocrisy is mind-boggling. Imagine the reaction if that same set of facts involved the New York Times and any of its multitudinous unverifiable “exposes” from the last half-decade: from the similarly-leaked “black ledger” story implicating Paul Manafort, to its later-debunkedrepeated contacts with Russian intelligence” story, to its mountain of articles about the far more dubious Steele dossier. Internet platforms for years have balked at intervening at many other sensational “unverified” stories, including ones called into question in very short order:

You can view most of the article without paying, but to view the whole thing, you need to subscribe to his Substack, which is $5/month or $50/year. I gifted a $5/month subscription for one month to several liberal friends and family. I think it could be a useful article and author to introduce to your liberal friends to begin planting seeds in their minds.
 

ralfy

Sparrow
Also from the author's wiki entry:


In March 2005, Taibbi's satirical essay, "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope",[31] published in the New York Press, was denounced by Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Matt Drudge, Abe Foxman, and Anthony Weiner. He left the paper in August 2005, shortly after his editor Jeff Koyen was forced out over the article.[32] Taibbi defended the piece as "off-the-cuff burlesque of truly tasteless jokes," written to give his readers a break from a long run of his "fulminating political essays". Taibbi also said he was surprised at the vehement reactions to what he wrote "in the waning hours of a Vicodin haze".[33]
 

jarlo

Robin
Also from the author's wiki entry:


That's pretty gross - I was not aware of that essay. I guess my main point is that it's easiest to persuade people with light nudges rather than slamming them into a wall, and Taibbi might be a useful contradiction for certain left-wing people since he's got liberal credentials but is strongly criticizing the media.
 

Easy_C

Crow
I also recommend Glenn Greenwald. Glenn was the reporter behind the Snowden links and debunking many of the Russian hoaxes. The far left types hate him but most non-far ones don’t know about him beyond “Intercept are against Nazis”.
 

Easy_C

Crow
I had to stop reading him because of his gratuitous anti-conservative Christian comments and blasphemies in his articles.

Here’s what I find to be the crazy thing: the American left has gone so far into insanity that people like Taibbi are at least to some extent aligned with us against them.

Not that we actually have anything in common with them. It’s more of a situation like in Iraq where one side went to the Americans and said “We’re gonna fight you eventually and we still hate you, but for now let’s team up and deal with the crazy A-holes”.
 

911

Peacock
Gold Member
The left (which now encompasses all the MSM except for Fox) has gone so far off the rails that opportunists like Taibbi can now build a lot traction and appear as sane by going against their narrative.

On the left, Greenwald is a better source than Taibbi, though he is a globalist owned by Omedyar's Intercept. Even better are Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate, and Jimmy Dore on Youtube, who is closing in on a million subs, they are all "good eggs" on the left that are a bit misguided but do get a lot of their stories right and sift through the prevailing BS.

 
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Easy_C

Crow
Greenwald has massively pissed off the left. He’s aligned with them ideologically but he is NOT a tribalist. He’s punched massive holes in the security state, The Syria narrative, the Russia Hoax, and the corporate press in general.

You can also send SJWs into a frothing rage my mentioning Tim Pool. Tim isn’t that smart (not that he needs to be for his job) but he’s effective at pushing people away from the crazy left and rapidly gaining popularity.
 

Hypno

Crow
Another rec for Jimmy Dore. Dore is an extreme left comedian who never made it, and now discusses politics. He's very smart and insightful, and occassionally very funny. Politically, he's left of Liberman and Pocahontas, but to his credit he is at leasat principled and for us the reason to watch him is he calls out the hypocrisy on the left. Also, because he's occassionally very funny. As an aside, he would be more successful if he branded himself a political analyst who uses humor, rather than a comedian who focusses on politics. One thing I like about him is even when he is pissed off about corruption, hypocrysisy, whatever, he can keep his sense of humor and sometimes make you laugh. He has the potential to be the Left's Rush Limbaugh. He's sort of like Bill Mahr if Mahr was funny, intelligent, and not owned by the (((corporate media))).
 

jarlo

Robin
Glenn Greenwald resigns from the Intercept: https://greenwald.substack.com/p/my-resignation-from-the-intercept

The final, precipitating cause is that The Intercept’s editors, in violation of my contractual right of editorial freedom, censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.

The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden’s conduct. Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this article with any other publication.

The Intercept's response:

The narrative Glenn presents about his departure is teeming with distortions and inaccuracies — all of them designed to make him appear as a victim, rather than a grown person throwing a tantrum. It would take too long to point them all out here, but we intend to correct the record in time. For now, it is important to make clear that our goal in editing his work was to ensure that it would be accurate and fair. While he accuses us of political bias, it was he who was attempting to recycle the dubious claims of a political campaign — the Trump campaign — and launder them as journalism.

Also, Matt Taibbi has another article out: "10 Ways to Call Something Russian Disinformation Without Evidence : The principles of American Newspeak, vol. 1":

1. Our spooks say it looks like the work of their spooks.
A group of 50 “former senior intelligence officials” wrote a letter as soon as the Post story came out. Their most-quoted line was that the Post story has “all the classic hallmarks of a Russian information operation.” Note they said information operation, not disinformation operation — humorously, even people with records of lying to congress like James Clapper and John Brennan have been more careful with language than members of the news media.

Emphasizing that they didn’t know if the emails “are genuine,” these ex-heads of agencies like the CIA added “our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case,” noting that it appeared to be an operation “consistent with Russian objectives.” Politico, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, and many other outlets ran the spook testimonial.

7. Adam Schiff says it is!

For the last four years, whenever the Democratic Party has sought to make unsupportable claims, it’s usually combined anonymous leaks to legacy outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post with public statements by a party spokesperson willing to say things on record without evidence. That person has often been California congressman Adam Schiff. Sometimes hinting that he’s seen intelligence he can’t speak of publicly, Schiff has repeatedly made statements that later proved false.

9. Just say it!
One of the beautiful things about the post-evidence era in media is that pundits can simply say things willy-nilly, provided it’s the right thing. David Corn and Mother Jones, who this time four years ago were publishing some of the first pebbles from the towering Matterhorn of bullshit that was the Steele dossier, ran a headline proclaiming, “Giuliani and the New York Post are pushing Russian disinformation.” Trudy Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer declared the Post story “reads as if it came straight from Russian propaganda playbook 101.” Ken Dilanian of NBC employed a creative double-negative, noting that Ratcliffe’s statement “didn’t say the FBI has ruled out the possibility of foreign involvement.”
 

jarlo

Robin
Taibbi has an article out on Greenwald's resignation: "Glenn Greenwald On His Resignation From The Intercept"

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald quit his job this morning. In a bizarre, ironic, and disturbing commentary on trends in modern media, the celebrated reporter was forced to resign after writing a story criticizing both the Biden campaign and intelligence community — only to have it spiked by the editors of The Intercept, the news outlet he co-founded six years ago with the aim of preventing pretty much this exact situation.

Greenwald, after commenting pointedly about the reaction by press and Democratic Party officials to the New York Post story, reached out to Intercept editor Betsy Reed to float the idea of writing on the subject.

The first hint of trouble came when Reed suggested that yes, it might be a story, if proven correct, but “even if it did represent something untoward about Biden,” that would “represent a tiny fraction of the sleaze and lies Trump and his cronies are oozing in every day.”

When Greenwald retorted that deciding not to report on one politician’s scandals because those of another politician are deemed worse is a “corrupt calculus” for reporters, Reed expressed concern. Based on this, on his comments on Twitter, and other factors, she worried that “we are headed for a conflict over the editing of this piece.”

Greenwald insisted he wasn’t planning an overwhelming amount of coverage but wanted to do a single article, reviewing the available facts and perhaps asking the Biden campaign to comment on the veracity of the Post story. Reed agreed that he should write a draft, then they could “see where we are.”

An aside: when reporters and editors interact, they speak between the lines. If an editor only ever suggests or assigns stories from a certain angle, you’re being told they don’t particularly want the other angle. If your editor has lots of hypothetical concerns at the start, he or she probably won’t be upset if you choose a different topic. Finally, when an editor lays out “suggestions” about things that might “help” a piece “be even stronger,” it’s a signal both parties understand about what elements have to be put in before the editor will send the thing through.

In the last few weeks I’ve heard from multiple well-known journalists going through struggles in their newsrooms, with pressure to avoid certain themes in campaign coverage often central to their worries. There are many reporters out there — most of them quite personally hostile to Donald Trump — who are grating under what they perceive as relentless pressure to publish material favorable to the Democratic Party cause. Greenwald’s story mirrors some of these stories, but his is more striking than some others on a few levels.

Many outside the media world will miss the subtleties of what makes this tale so crazy. Some may even think it’s unreasonable for a reporter to quit rather than “accept editing.” To understand why that’s not what’s going on here, one has to know the unique history of The Intercept.
...

The Intercept was designed specifically to be a place where journalists would be protected from such intimidation and editorial interference. As they wrote in their introduction:
Over the past seven months the journalists who have reported on these documents from the National Security Agency have been repeatedly threatened by a wide range of government officials… None of this will deter the journalism we are doing. A primary function of The Intercept is to insist upon and defend our press freedoms from those who wish to infringe them.
Greenwald recalls today: “We saw in the media, reporters were quoting CIA officials about Snowden and about me. They were essentially stenographers. The Intercept was created to avoid that.”

Again as noted in the announcement six years ago, Intercept writers were to be encouraged at all times to speak their minds, no matter who might take offense. This, they said, was another core part of the organization’s mission:
The editorial independence of our journalists will be guaranteed… Our journalists will be not only permitted, but encouraged, to pursue stories without regard to whom they might alienate.
The whole idea of The Intercept was to create a hands-off, journalist-run enterprise where mistakes like the WMD fiasco could never happen. If the journalists themselves were put in charge, the thinking went, there could be no pressure from above to conform to clearly flawed official narratives like the WMD case, or to back off stories like the Snowden affair.

It’s a long story, but the punchline is that the self-editing journalists at the Intercept somewhere along the line began to fall for what will look, years from now, like a comically transparent bait-and-switch operation. They were suckered into becoming parodies of their original incarnation.
 

911

Peacock
Gold Member

I was wrong about Greenwald, turns out he was at odds with the globalists owners/editors of the Intercept, good on him to call them out and resign.

This interview shows yet again how Tucker can build a coalition of bipartisan patriots and well-meaning lefties/centrists to sweep through the 2024 vote. Independent channels on all sides of the spectrum like Jimmy Dore's and Greenwald are blowing up, they can counter the moribund MSM machine because they have truth on their side.
 
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