Journalist Matt Taibbi made a name for himself in 2010 with his brutal takedown of the finance companies that orchestrated and profited from the crippling mortgage meltdown, which ran in Rolling Stone. His description of Goldman Sachs as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money," has gone down in the annals of investigative journalism history.
But in recent years, Taibbi has transformed into a supporter of the far-right and has a weirdly cozy relationship with creepy billionaire Elon Musk, who fed cherry-picked internal Twitter discussions with Taibbi so Taibbi could write a slanted story about how the pre-Musk Twitter censored right-wing accounts. Taibbi has said he is proud of his work with Twitter. In fact, when Jim Jordan invited Taibbi to speak before the House Judiciary Committee, Taibbi said, "[T]his Twitter Files story and what we're looking at now and what we're investigating now . . . is by far the most serious thing that I've ever looked at, and it's certainly the most grave story that I've ever worked on, personally."
MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan invited Taibbi onto his show to discuss the "Twitter Files." Taibbi joined the program from what appeared to be his home office, wearing headphones and a baseball cap. About 10 seconds into the interview, it became clear that Taibbi was out of his depth as Hasan confronted him with his reporting errors and hypocrisy.
Nearly every time Hasan pointed out a problem with Taibbi's reporting, a visibly uncomfortable Taibbi either ignored the question and criticized MSNBC for incompetency, or took a swig from his seemingly bottomless coffee mug. However, Hasan didn't let Taibbi's evasions deter him from exposing the flaws in Taibbi's reporting. The interview lasted 30 minutes, which might have felt like an eternity to Taibbi, who resorted to defensive and pouty aggrievement as his only way of responding.
A few highlights:
Mehdi Hasan: "They flagged 3,000 [tweets]. So you were off by 21,997,000."
Matt Taibbi: "I stand by my story."
Mehdi Hasan: "It's just error after error, Matt?"
Matt Taibbi: "Well, that is an error."
Mehdi Hasan: "Why not [fix the error]? Do you not have editors at [your site] The Racket?"
Matt Taibbi: "I didn't realize that until now."
Mehdi Hasan: How did you go from being the scourge of Wall Street to being unable to say anything critical of a rightwing billionaire, Elon Musk?
Matt Taibbi: "I like Elon Musk."
Mehdi Hasan: "Would you like to criticize Musk now?"
Taibbi: "No I don't particularly want to."
Last night, Taibbi tweeted a defense of his work: