Note 1: This web post by the anti-fascist author of several books on mind-control and propaganda, Alex Constantine, is perhaps a bit harsh in its conclusions. Taibbi might simply not know enough to steer clear of disinformation. Also, to be fair, he’s a more talented writer than Constantine gives him credit for being.
Other than that, though, I think the piece gets it right. Taibbi is a documented plagiarist and an obvious grandstander. In my book that makes him suspect, even without the other factors.
I take back my qualification, “harsh”.
Look what Taibbi has to say about other people:
In “Tea-bagging Michelle Malkin,” he writes the following about a married woman with children who is also – and this is not an inconsiderable point – from a different race ( it’s well-known that racial and sexual put-downs blur into each other in violent pornography):-
“For one thing, it’s brought together the words teabag and Michelle Malkin for me in a very powerful, thrilling sort of way.”
“A mean little dunce who’s wedged herself into a nicely paying career as a GOP spokesclown”
“When I read her stuff, I imagine her narrating her text, book-on-tape style, with a big, hairy set of balls in her mouth. It vastly improves her prose.”
And, just to show he’s quite willing to trash a Caucasian woman equally, as long as she’s the ‘wrong’ sort, here’s what he has to say about Sarah Palin:
“Not only is Sarah Palin a fraud, she’s the tawdriest, most half-assed fraud imaginable, 20 floors below the lowest common denominator, a character too dumb even for daytime TV — and this country is going to eat her up, cheering her every step of the way. All because most Americans no longer have the base energy to do anything but lie back and allow ourselves to be jacked off by the calculating thieves who run this grasping consumer paradise we call a nation.”
I’m not a fan of either of these women, but what kind of “progressive” writer says these kinds of things?
This is writing clearly geared to a male audience, don’t you think?
About 9-11 skeptics, in his debate with David Griffin, a widely respected academician and many years Taibbi’s senior:
“You idiots. Even if it were not the rank steaming bullshit my few scientist friends assure me that it is, none of that stuff would prove anything.”
“Dickwads” (see below)
Taibbi has called plenty of people propagandists himself, from Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria to Malkin (“Murdoch’s tawdry mouthpiece”) to followers of Ayn Rand.
He’s also attacked the Tea Party movement and the 9-11 Truth movement, all in the vilest terms.
So, shining the light on Matt is only fair.
Note 3: I’ve made one or two corrections, added numbering, italics and highlighting to make it easier to read.
Here’s my account of Taibbi’s plagiarism of my work on Goldman Sachs.
In another blog post, “Traveling, Taibbi, and Tares Among The Wheat,” (October 24, 2009), I noted some of his other targets.
A few other people have spotted the plagiarism as well, here and elsewhere. (I’m adding more links to this as I have time).
The Daily Bell, a libertarian outfit writing from Switzerland, apparently heard the tinny ring of what they call an “elite promotion,” (“Goldman Sachs, The Antichrist?” May 08, 2010), even without knowing about the plagiarism. When they learned about it, they added this analysis in “Just Goldman?” (May 17, 2010):
“Taibbi is just like Simon Johnson … blasting Wall Street and Goldman in particular without any regard to the larger frame of reference in which Goldman functions. Such analysis at this point in time is beyond naïve in our opinion. It verges on the manipulative.”
As you can easily verify, The Bell, writing from the view of professional money-managers/bankers comes to pretty much the same conclusion about Taibbi that Constantine and I do, each of us quite separately.
[10/12/15: Please check the blog for my later thoughts about the Daily Bell and its ties to suspected NWO players, although I never quite made up my mind about them.]
In a post entitled, Social Media Manipulations of the Liberals, I put my misgivings into the larger context of revisionism on the web and on wikipedia .
In Matt Taibbi Shills For Neocons (September 23, 2009), I took a look at his churlish attack on David Griffin over 9-11, at Alternet.org.
Yet, with all that, my feeling until now has been that the publicity Taibbi brings to the whole issue compensates for any muddying of it.
I said as much in this post, “Blogger Credibility” (Sept 27, 2009).
These days, however, I’m not so sure.
Truth is an invaluable commodity. And ethics too.
Let me clarify Constantine’s points, since they’re not stated explicitly and need to be teased out from the piece.
1. It was Taibbi who dropped the name of Hunter Thompson in reference to himself, to establish the association in his readers’ mind
2. Taibbi uses extreme language calculated to blunt the readers’ sensibility and sensationalize a story so that attention remains where he fixes it.
3. Hunter Thompson died in an apparent suicide in the course of a very dangerous and important investigation of a kind that Taibbi has never undertaken.
Taibbi came to the Goldman story LONG after it had been blown open by other people and when it was well within the boundaries of mainstream discussion.
4. Taibbi’s father is an establishment journalist, apparently cozy enough with the government to be an embedded (I presume) reporter in the services of empire.
(Lila: From his blog postings, it seems that Taibbi clearly differentiates between ‘bad’ imperial wars conducted by Republicans – Iraq – and ‘good’ imperial wars – Yugoslavia – conducted by liberals.
In other words, behind all the blather, he is for empire, as long as it’s done with the ‘right’ style and by the ‘right’ people.
That is, a statist of the usual “it’s for your good and the betterment of the planet” variety).
5. Taibbi’s characterization of 9-11 skeptics actually fits him better than it fits them.
6. Taibbi reinvented himself as some kind of self-professed “libertarian” through liber-al-tarian outlets like the establishment (pro-war) magazine “Reason.”
I would suggest that this was a way to co-opt the anger over the financial crisis coming from the libertarian camp, especially from people in the financial markets.
By co-opting it, the establishment gets to keep it within the boundaries consistent with maintaining empire through military and financial control.
This is a sharp take-down of Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone‘s gonzo-in-residence, from Alex Constantine’s Black List:
“Matt Taibbi, in (controlled) left media interviews often introduced as “another Hunter S. Thompson”:
1. “I’m sitting here 90 minutes north of Chicago in my shorts and flip flops after mowing the lawn on this 77 degree October 21. While waiting for the 60 Minutes story on mega-fires in the American west, I find myself nostalgic for certain individuals, now dead, who used to tell it like it is. “There was Warren Zevon, for one. There was also Hunter S. Thompson.”
Of course Thompson “told it like it is” (standard Taibbi hackneyed phrase) – he was an anti-fascist “conspiracy theorist.”
[The personification of “Gonzo” was investigating Omaha’s Franklin Credit Union and child molestation scandals when he “suicided” (or was “suicided,” to scuttle any revelations he may have scratched out of the stone walls of Nebraska)].
A literary find? Who cares about Taibbl’s “flip flops” … or his lawn … or the temperature while he sits idly waiting to watch TV … or even the nostalgia, because it’s signally hypocritical?
Matt Taibbi on Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat:
2. “Already the premise is totally fucked. ... “
Hunter S. Thompson wrote this badly?
When did anyone but a classless, low-brow, print-media-answer-to-shock-jock diversion ever write this way?
Tabbi’s book is titled The Great Derangement, and it accuses “conspiracy theorists” – who, contrary to disingenuous and desperate claims from the (controlled) media, actually exhibit active, balanced, fiercely-independent minds – of having severe mental problems. It’s a projection, IMHO …
3. ” The country … was losing its shit.”
Hunter Thompson would have never written this sentence. But a writer who thinks in these terms – a street flake – considers himself capable of evaluating complex engineering data, and judging informed political researchers who do actually comprehend fascist conspiracies, an everyday American phenomenon, a verifiable reality (when you deconstruct the ((controlled)) “mainsteam” [sic] media opinion formation) that Taibbi denies.
The psychological term for the self-elevation is “narcissism.” Denying reality is “dissociative.”
Taibbi needs to look up these terms and confront his own derangements.
The wit of Matt Taibbi:
4. ” … Taibbi is embarrassed by all the comparisons. “It sucks,” he says. … “
Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi:
Taibbi wanted to be a novelist, but doesn’t write novels, he says, because his fiction writing “sucks.”
So bad you couldn’t stand it.
I believe this is true.
But we are to believe that his real talent is political journalism. I don’t think so:
5. “Actually, listening to Joe Biden sound self-righteous about anything makes me want to puke my guts out. I don’t know what it is about him. Maybe it’s that creepy poof of blowdried gray pubic fuzz he has now … “
Or is the dissociative, narcissistic Matt Taibbi a good soldier planted by the intelligence bund (” … if the FBI really is following anyone on the American left … ” “… The Truth Movement thinks I’m a shill … “) to discredit dissidents:
“Liberal” Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi on the Left’s “Ugly Little Secret”:
6. The American Left’s Silly Victim Complex
From Adbusters #71, May-Jun 2007
” … The sad truth is that if the FBI really is following anyone on the American left, it is engaging in a huge waste of time and personnel. No matter what it claims for a self-image, in reality it’s the saddest collection of cowering, ineffectual ninnies ever assembled under one banner on God’s green earth.
“And its ugly little secret is that it really doesn’t mind being in the position it’s in – politically irrelevant and permanently relegated to the sidelines, tucked into its cozy little cottage industry of polysyllabic, ivory tower criticism. When you get right down to it, the American left is basically just a noisy Upper West side cocktail party for the college-graduate class.
“And we all know it. The question is, when will we finally admit it? … “
More Evidence of Taibbi’s Narcissism and Dissociative Tendencies
Matt Taibbi’s Perspective on 9/11:
7. THE LOW POST: I, Left Gatekeeper
Why the “9/11 Truth” movement makes the “Left Behind” sci-fi series read like Shakespeare
Posted Sep 26, 2006 12:14 PM
A few weeks ago I wrote a column on the anniversary of 9/11 that offhandedly dismissed 9/11 conspiracy theorists as “clinically insane.”… Apparently every third person in the United States thinks George Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks.
“You’re just another MSM-whore left gatekeeper paid off by corporate America,” said one writer. “What you do isn’t journalism at all, you dick,” said another. “You’re the one who’s clinically insane,” barked a third, before educating me on the supposed anomalies of physics involved with the collapse of WTC-7.
I have two basic gripes with the 9/11 Truth movement. The first is that it gives supporters of Bush an excuse to dismiss critics of this administration. I have no doubt that every time one of those Loose Change dickwads opens his mouth, a Republican somewhere picks up five votes. In fact, if there were any conspiracy here, I’d be far more inclined to believe that this whole movement was cooked up by Karl Rove as a kind of mass cyber-provocation, along the lines of Gordon Liddy hiring hippie peace protesters to piss in the lobbies of hotels where campaign reporters were staying. …
Taibbi’s “Libertarian” Politics
(Lila: As I almost immediately suspected, the whole point of inserting Taibbi into the Goldman debate was to divert the libertarian crowd from the sources where the financial dirt was dished before anywhere else. I’m not going to go any further with this here, however, because once I put things on the net, then the evidence starts getting cleaned up. I want to be sure I’ve gathered it all before laying out any more)
Reason magazine – a CIA Mockingbird propaganda sheet – interviews Matt Taibbi:
8. Reason: You’ve told one interviewer, “I’m never comfortable when people call me a lefty. If anyone were to ever ask, I’d say I’m probably more of a libertarian than anything else. I believe in capitalism, small government, etc.” ??Taibbi: My political views shouldn’t be important. I’m more comfortable describing other people than talking about what I really think. I have different beliefs that are all over the place. I think Roe v. Wade should be overturned because I believe in the federalist model; I believe that states should be able to make their own drug laws. The more democracy you have, the more people can make decisions for their own communities, the more freedom people have.
His father is Mike Taibbi:
Mike Taibbi is a television journalist working at NBC.
Taibbi received Bachelor of Science degrees from Rutgers University in sociology and journalism in 1971. He worked for ABC and CBS affiliates before settling in at NBC. He specializes in international news and has reported on the war on terrorism from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.
He has a son, Matt Taibbi, who is a contributing editor and writer for Rolling Stone.
• Unholy Alliances: Working the Tawana Brawley Story (Harcourt, June 1989). ISBN 0-15-188050-6.