Matt Taibbi was a great journalist at one point. I know people make this point often. But he was in fact a great journalist. He still has a great writing style.
So it is always a lot of fun to read Old Matt write stuff like this.
The WMD affair showed what happens when we don’t require sources to show us evidence, when we let political actors use the press to “confirm” their own assertions, when we report on the journey of rumors instead of the rumors themselvesMatt Taibbi in Rolling Stone
The thing is, with these kind of characters, what they end up doing is they hand you a bunch of research and oftentimes you can’t see the root of what they base their conclusions on,” he told Hill.TV. “Journalists end up outsourcing that part of the job to these private operatives. They rest on the laurels and the reputations of the people who are giving them the materials and that’s where the flaw is.Matt Taibbi on the Steele Dossier
And it’s sad to read New Matt write a thread like this.
By 2020, requests from connected actors to delete tweets were routine. One executive would write to another: “More to review from the Biden team.” The reply would come back: “Handled.”
Celebrities and unknowns alike could be removed or reviewed at the behest of a political party:
Both parties had access to these tools. For instance, in 2020, requests from both the Trump White House and the Biden campaign were received and honored. However:Matt Taibbi on Twitter
There was Old Taibbi. The Matt that was critical about having political actors launder lies in the media. Now you have new Taibbi that thinks the press should totally do it. New Matt thinks incredulously reprinting what the president’s lawyer claims to have found on a laptop is journalism. Old Matt was critical (correctly) of the press covering the salacious details Steele Dossier. New Matt thinks the Biden campaign asking Twitter to remove revenge porn dick pics should be a bigger scandal.
What New Matt is defending is Dick Pics. The Biden campaign asked Twitter to remove Dick Pics.
The Old Matt was a journalist. The New Matt is a stenographer. The Old Matt was against corporate journalism. The New Matt is fighting corporate journalism by writing stories the owner of a company wants written, in a way that reinforces the owner’s chosen narrative.
What would Old Matt think of a journalist that was handed a pile of documents from the owner of a company (Elon Musk) who then asked the journalist to write a story based on those cherry picked documents? Would Old Matt call that person a corporate journalist?
The idea that the right loves the idea of Musk and his kind handing things over to stenographers to launder into news being an improvement is nothing shocking. It’s what they want. It’s what the right wing media ecosystem is set up to do. And it is what Old Matt railed against.