Matt Taibbi

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I made up a funny name for bankers a decade ago.
Parroting squawkbox
Icon pundit.svg
And a dirty dozen more
Once you start getting handed things, then you've lost. They have you at that point and you gotta get out of that habit. You just can't cross that line.
—Taibbi staying objective and not being influenced[1]

Matt Colin Taibbi (1970–) is a former political writer for Rolling Stone. Ten years ago, he stood up to Goldman Sachs and CitiBank. Now he's sunk to being Elmo's personal scribe before being discarded by the oligarch. Guess we missed the middle step.

His father Mike Taibbi, was a reporter for CBS and NBC for decades until retiring in 2014.

Career summary[edit]

Expat bros[edit]

Taibbi made his bones in the free-for-all of post-Cold War Russia, where he played Dollar Tree Hunter Thompson. The eXile, an English-language tabloid aimed at expats like himself, was filled with all the juvenilia of what passed for culture in the '90s. Taibbi's co-editor wrote an article claiming that the kleptocracy of Russia made for a freer society than the liberal democracy of America, because Russian elites only cared about getting rich instead of imposing their moral values on the rest of the country. Among other things, The eXile published a regular column by Eduard Limonov, the founder of the National Bolshevik Party, which kind of says it all.

He got in trouble in late 2017 for what he termed a satire of western expatriates in Russia. A reporter went to Russia and investigated them and found that Taibbi made all of these anecdotes up.[2] When the book came out, one critic said it was just offensively edgy writing and Taibbi threw a coffee mug at him.[3] [No, not The Onion]

Taibbi has frequently contributed to RT as a guest on Breaking the Set with Abby Martin and The Chris Hedges Report. That said, the idea that he's skeptical of U.S. intelligence because there is some sort of kompromat and he's a Russian asset is thin, considering The eXile was started in '97 and Putin was elected in '99. It's more likely that he arrived at his opinions naturally, like many in his ideological corner.

Holding 2008 perps accountable[edit]

Illustration of a vampire squid (Vampyroteuthis infernalis), Goldman Sachs according to Taibbi[4]
I’ve spent most or all of that time, 30 years, doing the slogging investigative or pseudo-investigative kind of reporting. I’ve earned a little time to not do that for a year or two.
—Taibbi, already burnt to a crisp in 2021.[5] Now he's an inhalant.

Back in the 2000s and especially during Occupy Wall Street, Taibbi was somewhat of a 'rock star' on the left. He had a flair for invective, which they loved to see deployed against Boris Yeltsin (Matt’s obituary of him is gold), Bush-era lunacies, the Pope, and everything in between—which kind of obscured the fact that his political views couldn't neatly be categorized as leftist.[6] He is most famous for coining the term "vampire squid" to describe criminal bankers,[7] but one of the least-known stories he covered was the LIBOR scandal. LIBOR is basically the rate at which banks lend money each other money. The U.S. used it as the benchmark interest rate until 2023. LIBOR is set by bankers pinky-swearing not to collude with each other to manipulate it for their own gain.[8]

His Goldman piece became so famous that the political blogosphere came out and denounced it as "a collection of conspiracy theories," then failed to deny the factual accuracy of the piece.[9][10] Peak Taibbi was his skewering of Thomas Friedman;[11] he turned into a recurring character, like something on SNL.

He sympathized with Black Lives Matter when it wasn't popular to support it. I Can’t Breathe is his deep dive into the background of Eric Garner’s murder.

Independent media[edit]

I think he’s gone off the rails. Now I just don’t know what the hell he’s going on and on about. He’s obsessed with stupid shit.
—Doug Henwood, independent journalist and longtime admirer of Taibbi[5]

Beginning around 2014-2015, him and a bunch of others shuffled over to a newly-formed political aisle; sort of an ongoing populist left-right convergence:

The truth is, Trump conservatives and ACLU-raised liberals like myself, [Glenn] Greenwald, and millions of others do have real common cause, against an epistemic revolution taking hold in America’s political and media elite.[12]

This “epistemic revolution” is thereafter explained to be the brow beating talking heads like Taibbi received for helping to legitimize Tucker Carlson and others like him.

It’s not really a problem if Matt appears on Fox, Newsmax, OANN, and RT—though that being said, each one gets progressively worse. He equates Fox and CNN as being the same while giving a pass to the right, either by hand-wringing or just ignoring them. If Taibbi speaks of Trump, he usually ends it with "he's hilarious."[13] He then argues that Trump's critics in the media are worse than Trump himself. Lawyers have told judges that viewers can't possibly take Tucker Carlson seriously and Sean Hannity said under oath that he lied about the 2016 election being stolen.[14][15] These are supposed journalists with the biggest shows. Taibbi is naïve if he thinks the public is clamoring for a "unbiased" news channel with the cultural cachet of Fox. That's essentially what Fox News daytime and weekends were for the latter half of Trump's presidency, and ratings cratered.[16] Meanwhile the most ideologically-driven shows (Tucker Carlson Tonight, The Five) were the most-watched.[17][18]

He then went on to be an anti-censorship/"dangers of big tech" type, very on-brand. His series on the “the Censorship-Industrial Complex” is what first alerted Joe Rogan to the coterie of Invermectin shills.[19][20] It wasn't very well researched, it ignored a lot of red flags (using language like "miracle drug" to promote Ivermectin), the data they presented was rather fishy, and the drug itself had yet to demonstrate clinical efficacy. Taibbi was unfazed by this critique and refused to acknowledge data that was counter to his narrative.[21]

Wish he was as serious about that hagiography film Alex's War.[22] Should've been obvious to anyone who watched that sycophantic interview Greenwald gave him that it was a puff piece for Alex Jones.[23] This very serious man also complimented Matt Walsh on his transphobic movie, calling it funny and complaining that the left can't take a joke anymore.[24]

He got lucky in that debate he did with Douglas Murray. Malcolm Gladwell acted like such a clown that he saved Taibbi and Murray from defending their side.[25]


Elon, I’ve repeatedly declined to criticize you...
—Not a puff piece, by the way[26]

He was on the beat before Musk gave him the keys: Taibbi compared Musk to the anarchist labor organizers executed after the Haymarket Riot,[27] an amazing comparison if you know about Musk's anti-labor practices. And yes, it's self-serving for him to harp on this point since Musk is problematic from a censorship perspective.[28][29][30]

"Twitter Files" was about Twitter telling Rupert Murdoch's New York Post that they couldn't launder an unsourced story through their platform. The conspiracy was that the Democrats made Twitter bury the story,[31] but there is no evidence of that.[32] The only time the Biden campaign got involved was when the GOP tried to post photos stolen from Hunter Biden's iCloud, which showed him smoking crack naked with a prostitute, as a poor attempt at a Wikileaks-type bombshell which fell flat.[33] That being said, the Tweets were links to stolen photos. Nothing to do with Hunter Biden's legal problems or other business dealings. The right pursued this for two years because they were convinced that they would have won the election had Twitter not checked themselves and imposed their own rules on the content.[34]

The Twitter Files were fundamentally Musk and his team selectively feeding Taibbi and others tranches of old Twitter emails. Respectable journalists would not have gotten involved with the Twitter Files in the first place. Weiss, Berenson, Schellenberger;[35] none of these people are straight shooters.[36][37][38][39] And it’s ironic because when Taibbi was writing for Rolling Stone he’d often talk about how working for a monthly magazine gave him an advantage over 24/7 news cycle reporters who don’t have time to fully digest and fact-check information.

Interviews with Taibbi made it clear that he sloppily published what he knew was incomplete information, couldn't defend it when he was called to, then bailed the second Musk hit pause on his ability to monetize the situation.[40][41] The most bizarre part was when Mehdi Hassan pressed him on Twitter submitting to India's demands for censorship and he was caught flat-footed.[42][43][44] There's no way Taibbi wouldn't be aware that criticizing Musk would limit his access to monetizable content.[45] His prelude to all this, arrogantly treating people who saw Putin readying for war like they were gullible infants, was one of the saddest Hail Mary plays. Mark Ames and John Dolan a.k.a. Gary Brecher, who used to work at The eXile, said it was very sad to watch because it made them all look bad.[46]

Taibbi wrote a column on the audacity of a journalist asking him questions about his work.[47] (Does "ad hominem" just mean being fact-checked now?)[48] He then went to Congress and made the same claims that Mehdi had pointed out were false. The real number of flagged Tweets was a little less than he claimed. (22,000,000 or 3,000, what's the difference?) His misuse of brackets conflated the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) with a private nonprofit, the Center for Internet Security (CIS), to falsely argue the government had colluded with social media to censor news items. Taibbi himself doesn’t seem to know if it’s an error, really outing himself as someone who has no idea what he "reports" on.[49] [No, not The Onion]

Musk released these communications in order to expose some Fed whose job at Twitter was to vet stuff before it was released. But he forgot to fire that Fed from his job of vetting the first batch of "Twitter Files." The owner of a company doesn't know who the in-house lawyers at his company are?[50] [No, not The Onion]

Having discredited himself, Taibbi removed all links to the #TwitterFiles from his Twitter profile. He claimed he deleted them to protect Musk.[51] Thank you, Matt, for your service to the party. And for your reward, to the gulag you will go.[52] They couldn't reach Twitter for a comment because Musk fired the communications department and "the press email auto-replaces with a poop emoji."[53] [No, not The Onion]

A leprechaun told us the IRS visited Taibbi's home to intimidate him.[54] Who is naïve enough to believe federal employees are doing basic audits on a federal holiday? Ah, so the source is Taibbi himself, as he testified the same sans evidence in front of a group of "Freedom" caucus and MAGA types whose only purpose in life is to generate soundbites for Fox.[55]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Truth Social — As soon as they banned links to Substack, Taibbi claimed he was quitting Twitter and ran to Truth Social. Not surprising to see him back to Tweeting fifty times per day.


  1. The Joe Rogan Experience #1745, Spotify 7 December 2021.
  2. Bragman, Walker, "The Destruction of Matt Taibbi", Paste 11 December 2017 9:29am.
  3. Verini, James, "Lost Exile", Vanity Fair 23 Febuary 2010.
  4. The Great American Bubble Machine: From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression — and they're about to do it again by Matt Taibbi (April 5, 2010) Rolling Stone.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Barkan, Ross, "What Happened to Matt Taibbi?", 29 October 2021.
  6. Beckerman, Marty, "An Interview With Matt Taibbi", Reason 9 November 2007 9:30 AM.
  7. Zamansky, Jake, "The Great Vampire Squid Keeps On Sucking", Forbes 8 Auguest 2013 1:43PM, archived 4 Oct 2013.
  8. Taibbi, Matt, "Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever", Rolling Stone 25 April 2013.
  9. McArdle, Megan, "Matt Taibbi Gets His Sarah Palin On", Atlantic 10 July 2009.
  10. "In Taibbi’s Latest, More Shots at Goldman", New York Times 25 Febuary 2010 7:07 AM.
  11. Taibbi, Matt, "Thomas Friedman Goes to the Wall", Rolling Stone 5 August 2016.
  12. Taibbi, Matt, "Congratulations, Elitists: Liberals and Conservatives Do Have Common Interests Now", Racket News 3 June 2021.
  13. Taibbi, Matt, "Donald Trump, America's Comic", Racket News 8 January 2024.
  14. Kalm Bacher, Colin, "Fox News Lawyer Suggests No Reasonable Viewer Would Think Tucker Carlson Is News", Law & Crime 17 June 2020 8:04 PM.
  15. Dress, Brad, "Sean Hannity admits in deposition he didn’t believe Trump voter fraud claims", The Hill 22 December 2022 4:35 PM.
  16. Porter, Rick, "Fox News Takes Ratings Hit After Tucker Carlson's Exit", Hollywood Reporter 25 April 2023 2:19 PM.
  17. Colton, Emma, "Tucker Carlson most-watched cable news host despite advertisers dropping his show", Washington Examiner 17 June 2020 9:57 AM.
  18. Battaglio, Stephen, "Fox News’ ‘The Five’ topples ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ to become new cable news ratings leader", L.A. Times 19 December 2022 5:00 AM PT.
  19. Taibbi, Matt, "The Censorship-Industrial Complex", Racket News 12 April 2023.
  20. Taibbi, Matt, "Meet the Censored: Bret Weinstein", Substack 19 June 2021.
  21. Taibbi, Matt, "Ivermectin: Can a Drug Be "Right-Wing"?", Racket News 25 June 2021.
  22. Taibbi, Matt, "I’m just going to the heart of the inferno”, Racket News 28 July 2022.
  23. Paul, Ari, "Forget Alex Jones—Look at His Helpers" FAIR 18 August 2022.
  24. Prestigiacomo, Amanda, "‘I Lost Friends’: Former Rolling Stone Journalist Talks Reaction To Him Reviewing ‘What Is A Woman’", The Daily Wire 26 June 2022.
  25. Taibbi, Matt, "After Debate Loss Last Year, the Mainstream Press Hasn't Learned Much", Racket News 16 December 2023.
  26. Nash, Charlie, "You Are Dead To Me’: Twitter Files Journalist Matt Taibbi Posts Unhinged Messages from Elon Musk", Mediate 15 Febuary 2024 10:37 PM.
  27. Taibbi, Matt, "The Burning of Witches Will Continue", Racket News 15 November 2022.
  28. Spangler, Todd, "Elon Musk Bans Twitter Account That Tracked His Private Jet, After Claiming He Wouldn’t", Variety 14 December 2022 11:06am PT.
  29. Robert Mackey and Michah Lee, "Left-Wing Voices Are Silenced on Twitter as Far-Right Trolls Advise Elon Musk", Intercept 29 November 2022 12:20 p.m.
  30. Brodkin, Jon, "Musk suspends NYT and WaPo reporters from Twitter", Ars Technica12 December 2022 12:52 PM.
  31. Morgan, David, "Former Twitter execs tell Republicans they erred on Hunter Biden laptop story", Reuters 8 Febuary 2024 11:06 PM UTC.
  32. Adam Rawsley and Asawin Suebsaeng, "Twitter Kept Entire ‘Database’ of Republican Requests to Censor Posts", Rolling Stone 8 Febuary 2023.
  33. Tangalakis-Lippert, Katherine, "Elon Musk's 'Twitter Files' drop revealed some of the tweets the Biden campaign asked the social app to remove were nude photos of Hunter Biden spread without his consent", Business Insider December 2022.
  34. Parnes, Amie, "Democrats worry Biden controversy will be Clinton emails repeat", The Hill 14 January 2023 10:00 AM.
  35. Masnick, Mike, "No, The FBI Is NOT ‘Paying Twitter To Censor’", Techdirt 20 December 2022 12:26pm.
  36. Greenwald, Glenn, "NYT’s Bari Weiss Falsely Denies Her Years of Attacks on the Academic Freedom of Arab Scholars Who Criticize Israel", Intercept 8 March 2018 8:14 AM.
  37. Parker, Bryan C., "How the So-Called ‘University’ of Austin is Faring Nearly Two Years After Conception", Austin Monthly July/August 2023.
  38. Kleefeld, Eric, "Tucker Carlson guest falsely claims that Israel’s vaccine rollout hasn’t worked", Media Matters 9 March 2021 2:46 PM EST.
  39. Kukura, Jared, "Twitter Files journalist Michael Shellenberger censored a Wikipedia editor",Substack 23 October 2023.
  40. Musk, Elon, "Starlink has been told by some governments to block Russian news sources.", Twitter, 5 March 2022 12:15 AM.
  41. Lorenz, Taylor, "Twitter targets its rival Substack, forcing well-known journalists to choose", Washington Post 7 April 2023 7:10 PM.
  42. Ryan Grim and Murtaza Hussain, "Elon Musk's Twitter Widens Its Censorship of Modi's Critics", Intercept 28 March 2023 5:16 p.m.
  43. Hasan, Medhi, "How did you go from being the scourge of Wall Street to being unable to say anything critical of a rightwing billionaire, Elon Musk?", Twitter 7 April 2023 6:30 AM.
  44. Hassan, Medhi, "I didn’t ‘demand’ anything. You tweeted publicly at me 2 weeks ago, asking to come on my show, & address Twitter/India censorship issue.", X 6 April 2023 8:50 PM.
  45. McCann Ramirez, Nikki, "Elon Musk Blasts Crony Bari Weiss for Disagreeing With Journalist Ban", Rolling Stone 16 December 2022.
  46. Halper, Katie, "Mark Ames, Yasha Levine On Russian Coup & Omali Yeshitela On Being Indicted For Free Speech", The Katie Halper Show, Soundcloud December 2022.
  47. Taibbi, Matt, "Eat Me, MSNBC", Racket News 6 April 2023.
  48. Taibbi, Matt, "The decision by @mehdirhasan to pull a pure ad hominem interview, with no purpose but to attack me personally to deflect attention from what we’ve found, reveals him to be the latest in a long line of security-state attack dogs at @MSNBC whose job is to obscure damaging truths.", X 7 April 2023 12:15 AM.
  49. "Taibbi repeats his lie under oath" C-SPAN, uploaded on 7 April 2023.
  50. Taibbi, Matt, "THREAD: Twitter Files Supplemental", X 6 December 2022 4:38 PM.
  51. Christopher, Tommy, "‘I Was Trying To Protect Elon!’ Matt Taibbi Tells Jimmy Dore Podcast", Mediate 22 April 2023 4:27 PM.
  52. Taibbi, Matt, 'The Craziest Friday Ever", Racket News 7 April 2023.
  53. Nikki McCann Ramirez and Charisma Madarang, "Elon ‘Free Speech’ Musk Un-Suspends Accounts of Journalists Who Criticized Him" Rolling Stone 7 December 2022.
  54. "The IRS Makes a Strange House Call", Wall Street Journal via the House of Represenatives Judiciary Committee 28 March 2023.
  55. House of Represenatives Judiciary Committee, "Chairman Jordan Raises Alarm on Potential IRS Weaponization Against American Journalist", 28 March 2023.