Matt Taibbi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Matt Taibbi
Matt Taibbi.jpg
Taibbi interviewing an Obama supporter in Philadelphia, April 20, 2008
Born Matthew C. Taibbi
(1970-03-02) March 2, 1970 (age 44)
Nationality American
Occupation Journalist, political writer, columnist
Relatives Mike Taibbi (father)

Matthew C. "Matt" Taibbi (/tˈbi/; born March 2, 1970) is an American author and journalist reporting on politics, media, finance, and sports for Rolling Stone and Men's Journal.[1] He has also edited and written for The eXile, the New York Press, and The Beast.

Early years[edit]

Taibbi grew up in the Boston, Massachusetts suburbs. He attended Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, and graduated in 1992 from Bard College located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, then spent a year abroad at Saint Petersburg Polytechnical University in Russia. His father is Mike Taibbi, an NBC television reporter.


Taibbi joined Mark Ames in 1997 to co-edit the controversial English-language Moscow-based, bi-weekly free newspaper, The eXile. Of Exile, Taibbi said, "We were out of the reach of American libel law, and we had a situation where we weren't really accountable to our advertisers. We had total freedom."[citation needed] In the U.S. media, Playboy magazine published pieces on Russia both by Taibbi and by Taibbi and Ames together during this time.

In 2002, he returned to the U.S. to start the satirical bi-weekly The Beast in Buffalo, New York, which he eventually left declaring that "Running a business and writing is too much." Taibbi continued as a freelancer for The Nation, Playboy, New York Press (where he wrote a regular political column for more than two years), Rolling Stone, and New York Sports Express (as Editor at Large). Taibbi said being a journalist was a "career failure. I wanted to be a novelist," he announced at an NYU lecture.

Taibbi left the New York Press in August 2005, shortly after his editor Jeff Koyen was forced to quit over issues raised by Taibbi's column "The 52 Funniest Things About The Upcoming Death of The Pope".[2][3][4] "I have since learned that there would not have been an opportunity for me to stay anyway," Taibbi later wrote.[5]

Taibbi became a Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone, penning feature-length articles on domestic and international affairs, along with a weekly political online column titled "The Low Post" for the magazine's website. Taibbi writes for the print edition of Rolling Stone, and contributes to their website in his current blog, "Taibblog". A later online column titled "Year of the Rat" was meant to document the 2008 election season, but it ended after only a few postings.[6]

Taibbi covered the 2008 presidential campaign for Real Time with Bill Maher,[7] and he has made several guest appearances on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show[8] and other MSNBC programs. He also has appeared on Democracy Now![9] and served as a contributor on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.[10] Taibbi is an occasional guest on the Thom Hartmann radio and TV shows. He is also a regular contributor/guest on the "Imus in the Morning Show" on the Fox Business network.

Financial journalism[edit]

His July 2009 Rolling Stone article "The Great American Bubble Machine" famously described Goldman Sachs as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money".[1][11] The expression "Vampire Squids" has come to represent in financial and political media the perception of the financial and investment sector as entities that "sabotage production" and "sink the economy as they suck the life out of it in the form of rent."[12]

Tackling the assistance to banks given in foreclosure courts, Taibbi traveled to Jacksonville, Florida to observe the "rocket docket" which processed foreclosures without regard to the legality of the financial instruments being ruled upon and speeded up the process to enable quick resale of the properties while obscuring the fraudulent and predatory nature of the loans.[13] "Invasion of the Home Snatchers" was published in the November 25, 2010 issue of Rolling Stone.

As financial scandals continued to rock the world during 2012, Taibbi's analyses of the machinations garnered him invitations to nationally broadcast television programs as an expert who could explain the events as they unfolded and their importance to viewers and moderators alike.[14][15] In a discussion of the Libor revelations, Taibbi's coverage in Rolling Stone [16] was singled out by Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, Inc., as most important on the topic, that had become required reading to remain informed.

In February 2014, it was announced that Taibbi was joining First Look Media to head a new, as yet unnamed online publication that would focus on financial and political corruption.[17]

Sports journalism[edit]

Taibbi also wrote a column called "The Sports Blotter" for the free weekly newspaper The Boston Phoenix until September 2010. The column provided a rundown of arrests, civil suits, and criminal trials involving professional, college and at times, high school athletes.


In 2008, Taibbi was awarded the National Magazine Award in the category "Columns and Commentary" for his Rolling Stone columns.[18]

Controversy, Confrontation, and Heroic Acts[edit]

In March 2001, as editor of the magazine The eXile, Taibbi burst into the office of New York Times Moscow bureau chief Michael Wines and threw a cream pie spiked with horse semen into his face, after Taibbi's magazine had awarded Wines the title of "worst journalist" in Russia.[19]

In March 2005, Taibbi's satirical essay, "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope",[20] published in the New York Press, was denounced by Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Matt Drudge, Abe Foxman, and Anthony Weiner. Subsequently, the editor who approved the column was fired.[21] 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".[22]

Journalist James Verini, while interviewing Taibbi in a Manhattan restaurant for Vanity Fair, said Taibbi cursed and threw a coffee at him, and accosted him as he tried to get away, all in response to Verini's volunteered opinion that Taibbi's book, The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia, was "redundant and discursive".[23] Taibbi later described the incident as "an aberration from how I've behaved in the last six or seven years".[24]

After the death of conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart, in March 2012, Taibbi wrote an obituary in Rolling Stone, titled "Andrew Breitbart: Death of a Douche". Many conservatives were angered by the obituary, though Taibbi claimed that it was "at least half an homage," claiming respect for aspects of Breitbart's style but also alluding to Breitbart's own openly derisive obituary of Ted Kennedy.

In June 2013, Taibbi and numerous other celebrities appeared in a video showing support for Bradley Manning.[25][26]


  • The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia (ISBN 0-8021-3652-4). Co-authored with Mark Ames, and published in 2000 with a foreword by Eduard Limonov. A movie based on the book is under development by producers Ted Hope and James Schamus of Good Machine.[27]
  • Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season, (ISBN 978-0307345714). Published by Three Rivers Press (August 22, 2006).
  • Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire, (ISBN 0-8021-7041-2). Published by Grove Press, Black Cat in 2007.
  • The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics & Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire, (ISBN 0-385-52034-4). Published by Spiegel & Grau in 2008.


  1. ^ a b Salmon, Felix (DEC/JAN, 2011). "Giant Sucking Sound". Book Forum. 
  2. ^ [1] Original NYPress Article
  3. ^ Media: Jeff Koyen's Exit Interview
  4. ^ [2][dead link] Archived April 14, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Taibbi, Matt (2005-08-24). "New York Press - MATT TAIBBI - End of the Road". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  6. ^ Matt Taibbi: Rolling Stone[dead link]
  7. ^ "Real Time: Matt Taibbi follows the Clinton campaign in Youngstown, Ohio"
  8. ^ "The Rachel Maddow Show Guest List: Week of March 30, 2009". Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  9. ^ ""Worst Congress Ever: Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi on How Our National Legislature Has Become a "Stable of Thieves and Perverts""". 2006-10-27. 
  10. ^ Stelter, Brian (20 June 2011). "At New Network, Olbermann Sets Sights on MSNBC". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Taibbi, Matt (July 13, 2009). "The Great American Bubble Machine". Rolling Stone (1082-1083). 
  12. ^ "Growing recognition of the need for the Job Guarantee" by L. Randall Wray, EconoMonitor, 16 January 2014
  13. ^ Taibbi, Matt, Invasion of the Home Snatchers, Rolling Stone, November 10, 2010
  14. ^ June 22, 2012 Bill Moyers Show
  15. ^ July 4, 2012 Viewpoint with Elliot Sputzer
  16. ^ Taibbi, Matt, Why is Nobody Freaking Out About the LIBOR Scandal?, Rolling Stone, July 3, 2012
  17. ^ Somaiya, Ravi (2014-02-19). "Start-Up Site Hires Critic of Wall St.". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Magazine Publishers of America, NMA Winners". 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  19. ^ Taibbi, Matt. "New York Times Hack Eats Horse Sperm Pie", April 5, 2001, The eXile. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
  20. ^ "The 52 Funniest Things About The Upcoming Death of The Pope". Retrieved 2012-09-06. 
  21. ^ "New York Press Editor Quits Over Article". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  22. ^ "Keep Pope Alive", March 16, 2005, New York Press. Retrieved Mar 29, 2010.
  23. ^ Verini, James (2010-02-23). "Lost Exile | Culture". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  24. ^ "The Father of the Squid | The New York Observer". 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  25. ^ "Celeb video: ‘I am Bradley Manning’",, 19 June 2013
  26. ^ "I am Bradley Manning" video clip on YouTube
  27. ^ "Search at". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 

External links[edit]

Selected works[edit]


Biographical works[edit]