Matt Taibbi (born March 2, 1970) is a journalist, Rolling Stone's political reporter and frequent contributor to Common Dreams. He has appeared on MSNBC, Democracy Now!, Fox Business Countdown with Keith Olberman and Real Time with Bill Maher.
Education and Career
Taibbi attended Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, graduating 1987. In 1992 he graduated from Bard College. During college, he spent a year abroad studying at Saint Petersburg Polytechnical University in Russia.
After college, Taibbi lived and worked with his friend Mark Ames in Moscow, Russia. Starting in 1997, the pair published and edited a tabloid called eXile, which sought to imitate Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo journalism.
Taibbi also briefly attempted a professional basketball career in Mongolia before returning to the U.S. to write for New York Press.
Work at Rolling Stone
Taibbi has written for Rolling Stone since 2005.
Occupy Wall Street
In a 2014 interview, Taibbi described how the 2007-2008 financial crisis and the Occupy Wall Street movement impacted his career, saying "Before 2008, I was sort of a typical political humorist... then I got assigned to cover the financial crisis and the causes of it, and I started doing these stories, and I discovered this whole, complicated world of things I never knew about and I had to study. I was doing these pieces basically translating these very complicated and elaborate scams and trying to help broad audiences understand what had happened in 2008."
In 2010, Taibbi called Goldman Sachs, "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money." The "vampire squid" imagery inspired an Occupy Wall Street design by investigative journalist activist artist Molly Crabapple. and has become a common metaphor for Goldman Sachs. A 2012 article described Taibbi's symbiotic relationship with Occupy Wall Street protesters, calling him one of Occupy's "highest profile allies" and saying "the activists find a mouthpiece in Taibbi, and the writer gathers more people eager to put his ideas into practice."
Useful Idiots Podcast
In August 2019, Taibbi teamed up with Katie Halper to create Rolling Stone's Useful Idiots podcast, which they described by saying, "We’ll be focusing on stories that were blacked out by national news media, while offering unsparing weekly takes on candidates, TV talking heads, campaign spokesgoons, academics, and other monsters of the realm." Their first episode featured 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard.
News and Controversy
Accusations of Sexism
As the #MeToo movement gained steam in October and November 2017, Taibbi and Ames faced criticism about the sexist content of their Moscow-based tabloid eXile and related memoir entitled The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia.
In response, Taibbi apologized multiple times, but he and Ames maintained the sexual descriptions in The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia were satire, despite the book's "non-fiction" disclaimer. Ames said, "The offensive material was meant to be offensive, no one needs to stand up for that specifically, especially in the current climate. It only pisses me off that we’re getting accused of actual sex harassment, rape etc based not on victims accusations, but on our own deliberately offensive satire."
Taibbi discussed accusations of sexism and the #MeToo movement in a January 2018 Reason podcast.
In February 2018, Taibbi reported on Twitter that he had reached an "amicable settlement" with The Nation, which had to correct an article which claimed he had "boasted about molesting teenagers and constantly harassing staffers".
- I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street(2017, Spiegel & Grau) ISBN 0812988841
- Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus(2017, Spiegel & Grau) ISBN 0399592466
- The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap(Illustrated by Molly Crabapple)(2014, Spiegel & Grau) ISBN 081299342X
- Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America(2010, Spiegel & Grau) ISBN 0385529953
- Taibbi won the 2020 Izzy Award "for outstanding achievement in independent media", sharing the distinction with News Inside and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism.
- Rolling Stone won the 2008 National Magazine Awards for Columns and Commentary for three of Taibbi's political pieces.
- Taibblog (True/Slant)
- Matt Taibbi's Blog (The Smirking Chimp)
- The Low Post: A Complete Archive (Rolling Stone)
- Useful Idiots Podcast
- Matt Taibbi on Wikipedia
- Matt Taibbi, "Goldman Lobbies Senate, Says Full Transparency Sucks," Taibblog, October 27, 2009.
- Matt Taibbi, "Paulson and Goldman Met In Secret in Moscow," Taibblog, October 21, 2009.
- Matt Taibbi, "Obama's Big Sellout," Rolling Stone, December 9, 2009.
- Common Dreams, Matt Taibbi, organizational website, accessed September 5, 2019.
- Rachel Maddow and Matt Taibbi, Matt Taibbi on Rachel Maddow, the real Bush legacy of failure, sdmikev YouTube Channel, January 17, 2009, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Democracy Now!, Matt Taibbi, organizational website, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Fox Business, Matt Taibbi on Wall Street, organizational website, May 5, 2011, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Keith Olberman and Matt Taibbi, Mainstream Media Ignores Occupy Wall Street Protests - Matt Tiabbi on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Reich-Wing Watch YouTube Channel, September 30, 2011, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Real Time with Bill Maher, Real Time with Bill Maher: Overtime - March 6, 2015 (HBO), Real Time with Bill Maher YouTube Channel, March 6, 2015, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Facebook, Matt Taibbi, Matt Taibbi Facebook page, accessed September 6, 2019.
- William Stavru, Interview: Matt Taibbi '92, The Bardian (web archive), November 12, 2013, accessed September 6, 2019.
- George Gurley, From Russia with Lust, Observer, June 19, 2000, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Eliot Borenstein, Matt Taibbi’s Not-So-Secret Russian Past, HuffPost, October 30, 2017.
- Matt Taibbi, Inside the Horror Show That Is Congress, Rolling Stone, August 25, 2005, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Clara Jeffery, The Man Behind the Vampire Squid: An Interview with Matt Taibbi, Mother Jones, May 4, 2014, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Matt Taibbi, The Great American Bubble Machine, Rolling Stone, April 5, 2010, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Nomi Prins, "The great vampire squid”: Goldman Sachs' influence on America's future, February 1, 2017, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Suzanne McGee, Hillary Clinton and the 'vampire squid': is Wall Street really a deadly threat?, Guardian, March 20, 2016, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Jake Zamansky, The Great Vampire Squid Keeps On Sucking, Forbes, August 8, 2013, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Kevin Roose, [The Long Life of the Vampire Squid], New York Times Deal Book, December 13, 2011, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Adam Martin, Matt Taibbi and Occupy Wall Street Complete Each Other, Atlantic, March 9, 2012, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Matt Taibbi, Welcome to ‘Useful Idiots,’ a New Rolling Stone Podcast, Rolling Stone, August 20, 2019, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper, Announcing New Rolling Stone Podcast 'Useful Idiots' with Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper, Rolling Stone YouTube Channel, August 20, 2019, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Useful Idiots Podcast, Tulsi Gabbard on Running for President and The Next MAGA (A 2020 Slogan Quiz) | Useful Idiots, Rolling Stone YouTube Channel, August 22, 2019, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Matt Taibbi, Who’s Afraid of Tulsi Gabbard?, Rolling Stone, August 9, 2019, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Aimee Levitt, Twenty years ago, in Moscow, Matt Taibbi was a misogynist asshole—and possibly worse, Chicago Reader, October 27, 2017, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Dan Whitcomb, U.S. journalist faces sexual harassment furor over memoir, Reuters, October 29, 2017, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Michael Sainato, Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi: Sexist Pigs in Moscow, and their replies, Washington Babylon, October 30, 2017, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Simon Reichley, Matt Taibbi has been embroiled in controversy over his satirical Russian tabloid, Melville House, November 3, 2017, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Frank Camp Author Matt Taibbi Confronted Over Lewd Remarks From 2000 Book And Interview, Daily Wire, October 28, 2017, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Dan Whitcomb, Facing backlash, Rolling Stone writer posts second apology for 'hurtful' book, Reuters, November 2, 2017, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Democracy Now!, Matt Taibbi Apologizes for 2000 Book That Boasts of Sexual Harassment, Says It was Satire Not Memoir, Democracy Now!, November 2, 2019, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Nick Gillespie, Matt Taibbi on Misogyny, the Left vs. Free Speech, and the Killing of Eric Garner, Reason podcast, January 11, 2018, accessed September 6, 2019. (comments begin around 51:53).
- Matt Taibbi, 963869669076688899, Twitter', February 14, 2018, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Katha Pollitt, Are Sexual Predators in the Workplace Finally Facing Justice?, (web archive) Nation, November 20-27 Issue, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Joe Simonson, Liberal Publication Forced To Correct Itself After Claiming Journo Molested Teens, Daily Caller, February 15, 2018, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Democracy Now!, "2020 Izzy Awards Honor Journalist Matt Taibbi, News Inside and The Center for Investigative Journalism", Democracy Now!, March 10, 2020, accessed March 12, 2020.
- Hearst, ASME Names Winners of 2008 National Magazine Awards; Popular Mechanics Receives Ellie, organization website, April 30, 2008, accessed September 6, 2019.
- Matt Taibbi, Taibbi: Giuliani Worse Than Bush, Tell It Like It Is blog, May 31, 2007 (inaccessible original in Rolling Stone), accessed September 6, 2019.
- Matt Taibbi, My Favorite Nut Job, Rolling Stone, March 25, 2011 (original published in November 29, 2007), accessed September 6, 2019.
- Matt Taibbi, Election 2008: Obama’s Moment, Rolling Stone, December 27, 2007), accessed September 6, 2019.