Why Do Mainstream Democrats Hate Matt Taibbi?

Yves here. It is remarkable to see the Democrats, in less than a generation, become close-minded, authoritarian bullies. Taibbi makes clear that he’s not only gained political enemies by not toeing the Democrats’ tribal lines, but also lost friends. But in America, what passes for friendship is often shallow.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

Matt Taibbi testifies before Congress, March 9, 2023.

Estragon: Nothing to be done.
Vladimir: I’m beginning to come round to that opinion.

This may appear to be a piece about Matt Taibbi. It’s really a piece about why the Democratic Party has such a hard time winning against competition as palpably soft as modern Republicans.

Matt Taibbi often takes time on Twitter to answer honest questions from regular people, normal voters and citizens, unlike many journo-celebs who only talk to each other. Sometimes (actually often), other regular people comment on the exchange.

In that light, consider this exchange:

Nice soft close: “which is the opposite of persuasive.” Stylistically very Taibbi. But let’s look at this a bit more closely.

‘Character Assassination’

The self-styled left (and some of the actual left) is so closed off to Taibbi at this point that he’s fair game for any sort of attack. “Which means Republican,” as in the tweet above, is actually mild.

As Ross Barkin put it in a 2021 New York Magazine profile: “Few journalists, in polarized 2021, divide the New York-D.C. nexus more. Taibbi is viewed in more liberal quarters with increasing suspicion bordering on outright disdain, a remarkable development for a magazine star once considered Rolling Stone’s successor to Hunter S. Thompson.”

“Outright disdain” indeed. “Brutal” is more accurate.

In an entirely gratuitous and dishonest insult, Democrat Stacy Paskett, the ranking member of the House committee before which Taibbi testified, called him “this so-called journalist.” That led the way for every Democrat to follow. The rest of the session was, in the opinion of those not hateful of Taibbi, “character assassination.” This from Democrats, from all of them, his former natural base.

Where is this coming from?

His Former Friends

It got worse outside the committee. In an episode that’s painful to retell, Emma Vigeland of Sam Seder’s Majority Report (a person and a show I’ve long admired) said as part of their coverage of the hearings:

Don’t worry. The hearings will continue with the help of once-venerated reporter Matt Taibbi, who now is a PR person for Elon Musk and Twitter. This is Matt Taibbi’s characterization of his press releases on behalf of Elon Musk, which he calls ‘reporting’.

The tone, the dripping disdain, is a shocking reversal from a show that had hosted him frequently for years.

Vigeland played a clip of Taibbi saying that the Twitter Files was “by far the most serious thing I’ve ever looked at.” Then, discussing his highly praised work on the 2008 financial crisis, Vigeland comments:

I think that’s an interesting tactic because that kind of undercuts his own past work [on the 2008 crisis], right? Which I guess doesn’t really matter to him. He doesn’t give a damn since he’s cashing in. [emphasis mine]

That’s quite an accusation, entirely speculative, against a man Sam Seder has had on his show regularly for years, and a person he may have once considered a friend (though perhaps no more).

To be fair to Vigeland, I’m not sure she means what she says. She may just be piling on, playing Follow the Democratic Leaders, mimicking their vicious slanders with one of her own. Like when someone in a mob says “Hang the man,” and those around him join in.

(Of now-lost relationships, I’m reminded of this sad statement from an earlier Taibbi piece: “Allred then went on MSNBC, where my former friend Chris Hayes with a straight face suggested he didn’t see a ‘government angle’ in either the Twitter Files or our testimony — both of which were more or less entirely about that issue.” My former friend.)

Back to the Majority Report. An off-screen host, picking up on Vigeland’s remarks, then adds this about why Taibbi worked so hard on the 2008 financial crisis:

To be honest I’m not surprised Taibbi has this perspective [on the financial crisis] because…

I’ll pause while you think about what’s about to be said.

Why did Taibbi choose the crash to write about? Journalistic interest? Because corruption mattered to him? Or to set himself up later for Republican love?

You guessed it:

…if you look at it from his perspective, the financial crisis was good for him. He got this great reputation that Republican Congress people can cite about how great of a journalist he is. Made a lot of bones out of that as the Gonzo journalist. And I read all that stuff too. I don’t remember much of it. It doesn’t stick with me. I mean, he called Goldman Sachs the ‘vampire squid’ — I guess that was useful [sic].

I will say like I’m troubled looking back on it, and I would like to get a reassessment of his work on this by someone who’s not a capitalist, because he sums it up August 5th 2013 on Twitter: “My whole argument against modern Wall Street has been that it’s anti-capitalist perverted by incestuous ties to the state.” Sounds like libertarian.

And then he said April 11 2016: “I don’t know many people who would describe what’s gone on with these too-big-to-fail banks since 2008 is capitalism.” So like it’s not a surprise from his perspective because, like I said, [his] whole reputation was made as all these people were being thrown out of their homes. And him being a child of wealth, he has no ties to that. Also the type of people that are paying him now, Elon Musk did really well from the government response to the financial crisis, which was to flood the zone with cash.

He goes on (and on). Consider the accusations here.

Matt Taibbi, a “once venerated” journalist, only wrote about the financial crisis because it “was good for him” and gave him “this great reputation that Republican Congress people can cite.” He doesn’t care about people who suffered from the crisis since he’s a “child of wealth” and “has no ties to that.”

What a wicked man the man must be!

Yet who thought so at the time? If Vigeland is right, how foolish they must feel now to be so fooled. I’ll bet they’re looking today for signs they missed of Evil Matt Taibbi dressed up as good. Surely his mercenary heart must have shown through then.

Coverage in the mainstream media was no better. Huffington Post:

Matt Taibbi Smirks Through House Committee Grilling About ‘Twitter Files’ The independent journalist refused to confirm he made money from the project, saying instead that he “spent money he didn’t have before.”

The song, it seems, was everywhere the same. Taibbi should be despised. Not disagreed with; not rationally engaged. Despised, even — and especially — by his former friends.

I ask again, where is this coming from?

Where This Is Coming From

To answer that question seriously, consider the following premises. I think the first four accurately describe the thinking of mainstream Democratic leaders since the humiliating presidential loss of 2016:

  1. Modern Republicans (leaders, media, and crucially, their voters as well) represent the worst threat to the American Republic since the Civil War.
    1. Or possibly since the Founding. Southern Confederates didn’t wish to institute Hitlerian reforms that would eliminate democracy from the governance of the state.
  2. Any act by any individual or organization that advances the overall Republican Project, inadvertently or not, is as dangerous as the Project itself.
  3. Because the Republican Project is evil, its supporters are evil — or in the most generous cases, deeply stupid.
  4. Stopping the Republican Project means stopping all supporters and adherents, be they willing or not.
  5. (Taibbi addendum 1) Matt Taibbi is a supporter, willingly or not, and therefore must be stopped.
  6. (Taibbi addendum 2) Because his support is probably not inadvertent — Seder’s hosts and the Democratic committee members are certain his motive is money, a sell-out to advance Elon Musk — destruction of his entire career is a reasonable response. After all, the whole of American democracy is at risk; literally all.

I don’t think any of those statements, stark as they are, misrepresent the Democratic Party position. Everything I’ve observed since November 2016 confirms them all.

The Problem in a Nutshell

Statement 1 could well be true. I believe it myself, though about the leadership only. (I have other thoughts about Republican voters.)

But does the rest follow from that? Does it justify the destruction of free speech, to take one example, in order to preserve it? (If you doubt that’s what’s on offer, click the link.)

And even if it does, even if the means are justified by the end, the problem is that this Democratic Party response — this hate-Republicans-at-all-costs messaging (while party leaders themselves cut deals with them) — is not going to work. It won’t blast them past their electoral opponents at near the speed it ought to, given their opponent’s obvious and fatal flaws.

Mainstream Democrats run roughly even with Republicans except in protected districts. They certainly ran roughly even with Donald Trump in the only venue that counts, the Electoral College. And Democratic leaders are the reason that this is so. Will all this vitriol make them more attractive, or less?

Letting Republicans Lead the Revolution

As I wrote elsewhere, in each presidential cycle the voters have only two choices. It’s the Party of the Status Quo

…versus the Party of Fake Revolt against the status quo…

If you don’t like the status quo, you have no one to vote for, just people to vote against.

What do you think would happen if Democrats ran a candidate of Real Rebellion, a Bernie Sanders, say, à la 2016, against the candidate of Pretending to Care what happens to suffering voters? Would real rebellion against predatory rule by the rich “trump” fake rebellion financed by the rich?

Of course it would. Sanders would have beaten Trump soundly, had he had the chance, in the 2016 race. All the momentum was his, and he won almost every head-to-head primary contest in states with open, same-day primary voting.

But Democrats, the other party of the rich, won’t take that course. Which leaves them only one pitch. In Taibbi’s language from the start of this piece:

It’s always “Vote for us or you’re a right-wing insurrectionist Putin-lover,” which is the opposite of persuasive.

This is the Democrats’ constant closing argument, and the worst they could advance. It makes them, not just wrong, but ugly as well, the “opposite of persuasive.” Yet this is all they have, if they can’t themselves attack the people’s real enemy, and this time actually mean it. Sad for us. Sad for them as well.

Estragon: I can’t go on like this.
Vladimir: That’s what you think.

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  1. deedee

    He doesn’t care about people who suffered from the crisis since he’s a “child of wealth” and “has no ties to that.”

    If being a “child of wealth” is disqualifying, we can rule out almost all the bloggers, tweeters, pundits, podcasters, and self-absorbed bloviators on the “so-called” left.

    1. NarrativeMassagerInc

      Vigeland herself is a daughter of wealth, far more than Taibbi. Limousine liberal in flesh and spirit. These people are frauds and frankly Mr Neuberger, its disappointing you thought so well of Seder before this. He’s a Dem party sheep-herder with a petty and smug demeanor, not worth our time. And its obvious what happened to the liberal class — its been going on for decades now. The smug, arrogant class of incompetents who graduate our “top” universities have driven this country to the bring of collapse and their only solution is to destroy the first amendment, informed consent and any other legal, ethical and moral “norm” that gets in their way.

      1. spud

        i got the boot from the state democrats in 1990’s after complaining that what bill clinton was doing will destroy our civil society, our standard of living, and our 200 years of wealth accumulation and technology.

        FDR-LBJ was a anomaly in the democratic party. they returned to their andrew jackson/woodrew wilson roots in 1976.

        although carter was not as violent fanatical feverish believer in free trade economics than what came into power in 1993, bill clinton.

        who was the father of just about everything that has gone bad in america and the world.

        the feverish fanatics just look at the GOP as shills, not to be trusted to lead us to the promised land.

        what is going on right now points to how much leverage the clintons have in the democratic party.

        Taibbi exposes that.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Carter may not have been fanatical, and has personal qualities that make him far more tolerable than Clinton, Obama and Biden, but the anti-labor and anti-consumer neoliberal regime of deregulation (starting with airlines and trucking) begins with him.

          1. retired cynic

            Carter unleashed the full power of Zbigniew Brzezinski, the father of the neocon war monger philosophy that rules the State Department to this day.

        2. pretzelattack

          Though he was the nominal head of the democratic party, party democrats hated him. Ben Barnes said he torpedoed the Carter candidacy in 1980, with John Connolly, and Bush sr and Reagan’s campaign director and CIA chief were in that up to their eyeballs. He was attacked and vilified by the MSM throughout his term. The democrats got rid of him because they didn’t want those populist candidacies, they stomped on McGovern and they stomped on Carter, and eventually got the party rigged to their liking again.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        I went down a very strange rabbit hole for me today. As I was catching up on Bakhmut, a Tucker Carlson video from the last day or two showed up about transgenderism being a religion. I’ve heard him on that riff earlier, and he makes some interesting points. So I watched that. Then this video showed up, a podcast by Fox News newcomer, via Fox Sports, Will Cain. Cain interviews Carlson at home for nearly an hour, something I can hardly imagine myself watching as a Carlson hater back in the days when Jon Stewart was ripping Crossfire.

        Yet I enjoyed it very much. Carlson, ex-neocon, explains how a visit to Iraq in 2003 or so changed him. And Cain asks him what “drives” him. He says that it is disgust with the quality of our current leadership. Now on his show, he’ll usually limit his attacks to the Dems, but here at one point he says, talking about McCain’s characterization of Russia as a gas station with nukes, “If you want a dumb idea, you can always find one among Congressional Republicans.’

        Regardless of whether Carlson is sincere or not, and putting aside the dark direction he often turns otherwise very valid criticisms, I think that’s why he’s currently the most watched of TV primetime pundits. His central point–that the elites are dangerously incompetent yet arrogant idiots–is a point of view that more and more are coming to. It explains a lot, as they say.

      3. CarlH

        Yes, Seder and MR are horrible. The smugness drips off them. They are Mean Girls for YouTube.

      4. Rob

        I, too, used to like Sam Seder and listened to his show fairly often. It seemed to me that he took a turn for the worse at about the same time that he began appearing regularly on MSNBC. It was undoubtedly a good career move, but one that exacted a high cost in terms of lost integrity. Talk about a sell-out. Have you ever heard Seder & Co go after Jimmy Dore? “Vicious” is the word that best describes it.

    2. Mildred Montana

      >”…[Taibbi’s] a “child of wealth”…”

      This, and everything else, is strictly ad hominen. Taibbi, who is 53, has a solid history of reputable journalism. To the best of my knowledge he or his publishers have never been sued, at least successfully. In other words, his assertions have held up over time.

      Taibbi lived in Russia for six years. He writes in both English and Russian. I would hazard that he knows a little bit more about world affairs than his bubble-living detractors. Hence, their need for ad hominen attacks. That’s all they have. So cheap.

      1. Questa Nota

        Projection explains much Dem response. And not just Dems. :/
        Start with that and then see if it can be ruled out, or minimized after a review of facts.
        Chances are, there will still be some element of projection driving the discourse.

        Playground 101. Not even up to the level of High School 101. Sigh.

  2. Frank

    As an avid reader of the eXile in Moscow back in the day, and having partied with them a few times, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Ames and Taibbi. What I find funny about this is how it seemed to me that they both sold out and went mainstream when they moved back to the US. And, yet, they are considered edgy and controversial despite toning it down from 11 to about 3. This was just more proof to me of how conformist America is compared to a much more pluralistic Russia, where having outlandish views is not a reason to be, ahem, exiled from polite society.

    1. BeliTsari

      That’s just the thing. Matt, Mark & Yasha might’ve gotten acclimated to constantly being denigrated, belittled & castigated, for doing JOURNALISM & laughing at naked Emperors, our PMC worshipped. They couldn’t play that game, since they never got the memo, that they were to rip & read intentionally obvious PR hand-outs, from the comfort of some insanely overpriced bar, where Poppy or Marie Jana Körbelová told NEPO kids what undisclosed sources were saying (same as they had in Iraq, Kuwait, Teheran, Panama, Nicaragua, Vietnam).. US media is by, for, about & solely from the perspective of sneeringly obdurate, perniciously oblivious wealthy honkies, who’d partied at the finest schools, worldwide. Brainwashed, generations ago, inbred, elitest assumptions are like their identical watches, cars, smirks & sneers. Matt’s one of them, betrayed his inbred advantage and they do not see why he’s not on Comcast, spewing absolute horseshit? Die Große Lüge is meant to be BLATANT, stupid & totally unquestioned by their terrified victims. Matt’s NEPO-insider Hunter Thompson aspirations confuse them, like seeing a masked person at the Oscars, that Sy Hersh, Ralph Nader & Norman Finkelstein are still alive, or that there was a train wreck out in Trump country.

      1. Ready Go Set

        Anyone who has an opposing view must be a sellout these days. /sarc
        Purity testing and enforced Stalinesque clapping instead of reasoned arguments. /not sarc

        1. Paul Art

          But Stalin did deliver for Russia and he never funneled wealth to some Swiss bank to be used later by his second generation. The MAGA perhaps thinks Tucker is Stalin’s second coming.

      2. Frank

        I suspect you aren’t familiar with the eXile, unlike the previous commenter. If you were, you’d know why I say that and that it’s merely context specific. I have a lot of respect for what Taibbi’s done since leaving Russia, indeed he had to go mainstream to make the impact he did. But it doesn’t hold a candle to the eXile, which was perhaps one of the most incredible, not to mention underrated, literary creations of its time.

        1. Cat Burglar

          That any change is context specific seems right; it seems to be mainly stylistic to me. Imagine trying to publish something like Black Metal Nation in a US venue now — a US reporter is only allowed to assume good will and transmit only the text of a press release covered with bloody fingerprints. You’re right about the literary merit, but the impact of their reporting is still the same — that’s why US editors are scared of them.

          Taibbi seems to have composed his face for serious hunting, but the substance of his reporting does not seem to have changed. Ames, Levine, and Dolan had a good venue during the NSFW days, but have resorted to podacsts and Substack since. Levine and Ames’s proposed book on Yeltsin’s US supported seizure of power and violent repression of demonstrators — a deeply inconvenient subject for our handlers — is unable to find a publisher in the US. They are hitting the powers with things much better than horse sperm pie now.

    2. some guy

      If anyone in Russia advocated the outlandish view that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was aggressive war and should be called off, would they remain accepted in polite Russian society?

      1. Frank

        The framing of your question belies a rather deep and profound ignorance about the political and social realities of current day Russia. You can watch clips of Russian state television with these views expressed, or read RT in english if your Russian is rusty. You will, of course, also encounter this opinion privately in everyday life. It’s rather unfortunate to read a comment like this here, usually this commentariat is fairly well informed.

      2. Daniil Adamov

        Polite society in Russia is liberal, so if anything this is the expected thing. Public expression has its hazards, though.

        1. Frank

          I was asked once by an ostensibly well informed American if I had to be careful about what I say in Russia. I answered, indeed, I do, since most of my social circle is made up of liberals. Dare I say anything positive about Russia or Putin and I might end up with my head ripped off. Needless to say, it was not the answer he was expecting.

  3. JohnA

    As a European with only a slight understanding of American systems, what shocked me about both the Taibbi appearance in front of Congress and the CEO of TikTok, were the interviewing politicians stating in a very hostile and hectoring manner, that the interviewee could only answer Yes or No to the loaded questions, without any opportunity to broaden or respond in more depth. Utterly pointless exercise.

    1. BeliTsari

      I’ll spare you the gratuitous 8 minute fight sequence, about mindfulness, conditioned response & why these George ‘Buck’ Flower caricatures had to entirely destroy the concept of WOKE. The PMC & retired yuppies fantasy world gets plenty riled, when one of their own, betrays his privilege and risks their being able to feed upon us, at will. He’s the poster child of cancel…


    2. Mildred Montana

      The first thing to understand about the American system is that Congressional hearings are strictly theater, an opportunity for members to get “face-time” and score a few points.

      The second thing to understand is that members of Congress are stock-trading, donation-seeking, lobbyist-schmoozing, bubble-living parasites. If they had any principles to begin with, they would quickly sell them out for a free lunch in a fancy Washington restaurant.

      So, even before the hearing begins, they’ve made up their minds. Witness good or witness bad, that’s it. All questioning thereafter follows the script. If Congressional hearings had any value, if they were actually a truth-seeking exercise, I can assure you they wouldn’t be on TV. That kind of stuff goes on in the backrooms.

      However…there was a time, way back in 1954, when things were more honest:

      “In a dramatic confrontation, Joseph Welch, special counsel for the U.S. Army, lashes out at Senator Joseph McCarthy during hearings on whether communism has infiltrated the U.S. armed forces. Welch’s verbal assault marked the end of McCarthy’s power during the anticommunist hysteria of the Red Scare in America.” Welch pointedly asked McCarthy, inquisitor-in-chief, “Do you have no sense of decency?”


      And that was the end of him. Joseph McCarthy, poor demented man, died three years later of alcoholism at the age of 48.

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        That might have been the end of McCarthy, but it certainly wasn’t the end of the Blacklist, and it certainly did nothing to end the Cold War. McCarthy, after all, was a sloppy drunk who was attacking the Army. They’d have let him continue if he’d had a wiser (for his purposes) sense of whom to target:

    3. JustTheFacts

      Yes, when you watch the debate on C-Span or YouTube, it is idiotic and frankly barbaric. The politicians don’t even care to listen to the answers. You wonder why they bother and are not embarrassed. It’s all so very transparent.

      But when you see it on some mainstream show, it’s edited to seem as if these very same utterances were profound points that landed devastating blows, and you realize the politicians know few people bother to look at the original appearance. Instead they watch these edited pieces, where this silly posturing serves as “evidence” for TV propaganda arms to create a convincing story.

      Congress is no longer hallowed halls where our laws are crafted. It’s a TV set the plebs are brought up to believe in. It’s all become fake. It’s sad to see how far it has all disintegrated. Reminds me of hyper-normality at the end of the USSR.

      But Old Blighty and Europe are not fairing much better as far as I can see (MPs for hire, France burning, Scholtz and his corruption issues, etc…). Serious 4th turning material.

    4. some guy

      Its too bad that Taibbi didn’t call Paskett ” this so-called Congresswoman” to her face in return.

        1. some guy

          I would have preferred . . . ” Well, it takes one to know one, Madame So-Called Congresswoman.

    5. Ignacio

      It was an exercise of PMC lecturing. Sadly all too common in many corporations but that is another thing. Guess what? This is precisely the problem. Are representatives elected to represent the people or to lecture them? That was an spectacle of rotten/inverted/perverted democracy and I felt as shocked as you. I think I wrote a comment here stating that this was one of the darkest moments I had ever witnessed in a so called democracy. Darker, for instance, than the entrance of Tejero in the Spanish congress in 1981 which was a childish attempt for a coup. This had the opposite effect: reinforce the democracy. Taibbi’s cruel interrogation, on the contrary, reinforces authoritarianism.

      1. JBird4049

        Somehow, it is a given for much of the PMC including Congress that others work for their betters, which is them.

    6. Futility

      Fellow European here, I also watched the testimony with disgust. The exchange with Wasserman Schultz was hard to bear. Condescending and without the slightest pretense to have an actual conversation. I could not have kept my cool as Taibbi did. Absolutely infuriating.
      Alas! Europe is not run by more competent or compassionate people, either, which does not inspire confidence into the future.

  4. Joe Salimando

    I am a Matt T fan. I subscribe (paid) to his Substack.

    2 points on what’s above:

    1 – put Sy Hersh, Matt, and GGreenwald in a box. These are perhaps the most important, and non-partisan, journalists we have. Democrats cannot stand non-partisan anything — esp. now, that they apparently have obtained ownership of the entire media. SO: That box, which has enormous value to me, would be Set On Fire if the Dems had their way.

    This is despicable.

    2 – I don’t know about Bernie Sanders changing things. I love the guy, and worship the ground on which he walks (his domestic policy ideas and speeches). However, had he actually been elected President, the “fight” in Congress would have odds of 535-to-1. As has been documented at times right here on Naked Cap — the “progressive” Dems offer us nothing but fluff and stuff. There’s only so much you can do with executive orders.

    [Do you really think the elected Democratic Senators and Representatives would have followed Bernie’s lead? Really???]

    “Nothing will fundamentally change” may actually be, at this point, the best outcome for which we can hope. And I type that sentence having been a Joe Biden hater for decades.

    1. John

      Biden’s comment: I took it as a signal that his presidency would be a continuation of what came before and to a large extent that has been the case. If anything the trajectory of predatory financialization has accelerated. Biden di make one change. He got us into one war and is working on making it two.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        It works like incentive clauses in athletes’ contracts with an added penalty possibility.

        Start TWO wars, and you get blanket family pardons AND half Obama’s post-Presidency goodies.

        Start ONE war, and you can only choose one.

        Start NO wars, and you get prosecuted.

    2. bdy

      I like Bernie the man, and am a welfare state apologist to the core. But (paraphrasing the Trillbillies) Sanders supporters don’t understand the real power of capital strikes.

      Even the smallest incremental improvement to our lives, if enacted by a “democratic socialist,” would trigger widespread suffering in the blowback of capital flight from an economy so tied up in finance.

      1. tevhatch

        Sanders changed a lot right before he divorced his first wife and married a grifter However he was always a plunker for the MIC baby killers in his state. I guess that’s a positive for some, but his idea of a welfare state ends at the border and is paid for by taking a cut from the extraction by empire. He never cottoned on that the empire consumes the republic, or was intentionally blind.

      2. Mike

        Unfortunately very true…

        You cannot change the fundamentals of a financialized, technologized society unless you change the groundwork upon which it rests- banking, corporate law, property, education, and all its affects upon the population. And that would mean the maximum disgust of most of the population for this setup – in other words, a pre-revolutionary situation. That seems to be a distant dream, mostly due to the successful propaganda that’s swallowed by us plebes and the spying technology that sends oppositional thoughts to the corner/jail/exile. Since “revolutionaries” have been urging the maximal response to capitalism for over 150 years in this country (mostly ignored and feared), it seems almost pointless to say “they told you so”. And, our current generation of revolters seem more interested in getting subscribers to their individual social media accounts, at most giving Sanders-style FDR programs with some edge (medicare-for-all) without real anti-capitalist policy (reduction of military, nationalizing pharma, rails, banking). Not a real opposition, rather a reformist “let’s make it nicer for folks” movement. My take- no hope, no change.

      3. Henry Moon Pie

        This system will have to bring itself down. At least for the time being, we’re helpless passengers or at best stubborn but essentially ineffective resisters. The good news is that the hubris and stupidity of our rulers are working hard to bring it about. We’ll hope they don’t get us nuked in the process, but then we were the electorate that provided them some modicum of legitimacy for decades.

        Don’t change before the Empire falls.
        You’ll laugh so hard you’ll crack the walls.

        Grace Slick, “Greasy Heart” circa 1968.

    3. Donald

      Adding to what you say, if Bernie had been the Democratic nominee the press and mainstream liberals would have continued to rip into him just as they had before. From their perspective it would have been a horrific choice and that is how it would have been portrayed nonstop in the media until Election Day. Can you imagine the reaction of the more fanatic Clinton supporters? They were outraged by the mere fact that Sanders ran against her.

      I voted for the lesser evil ( the Democrat to be clear) in 2016 and 2020) but I think a larger percentage of PMC Clinton voters would have refused to vote for Sanders than there were Sanders voters refusing to vote for Clinton.

      1. John k

        The largest party is the indies, and imo he would have easily won most of them.
        Blankfein said if Bernie won he’d hafta go rep, but tds was already widespread, I doubt that many Clinton lovers would have voted trump.
        Granted msm and dem elites would have been outraged.
        Bernie would have had difficulty with congress, but it’s not just exec orders, it’s appointments, though many might be ‘acting’ because if congressional oppo.

      2. Barry Fay

        “mainstream liberals would have continued to rip into him (Sanders) just as they had before. From their perspective it would have been a horrific choice and that is how it would have been portrayed nonstop in the media until Election Day.” This is simply wrong. You seem to forget that he would have been running against TRUMP (Hitler´s brother)!

    4. Skip Intro

      Whether we believed Bernie would change things or not, it seems clear that the Dem. establishment of 2016 believed he would. At this point, their opposition to something is a pretty reliable endorsement.

      1. some guy

        If they hear you say that, and then they see enough people taking what they support as a reverse-endorsement, they may be clever enough to pretend to support the opposite of what they actually want people to support, in order to trick people into ” reverse-endorsing” what they purport to support.

        Perhaps one should decide what one supports and if one really supports it for good reasons, keep supporting it even though Democrats might decide they support it.

        If Karl Marx says that a cloudless daytime sky is blue, it really is blue even though Karl Marx says it is. For example.

  5. eg

    I am put in mind of Thomas Frank’s laments at how modern Democrats have so eagerly embraced a puritanical McCarthyite regime of ritual denunciation that for decades had served as a warning against the exercise of censorious, anti-democratic government overreach.

    It’s an astonishing heel-turn.

    1. Robert Hahl

      I like Thomas Frank, but his books don’t say much more than Bill Greider said in “Who Will Tell the People” from the early ’90s. Taibbi is different because he breaks stories, learns new material quickly, and he is funnier – there is nothing more dangerous to establishment narratives.

  6. John R Moffett

    The tribalism in the government and their lackeys in the press is monumental. You’re with us or you’re against us, and by that they mean you are on the Red Team or the Blue Team, and there can be no alternatives. I am amazed at how bad the tribalism has gotten in the US, and I blame it on the Corporate Owned News because they have been at the forefront of Balkanizing the US population for so long. Everything is Red and Blue Team. Everything now boils down to childish insults and character assassination because neither side has anything of substance to say about anything. I am amazed that there are still any people left in the US that find either party palatable. They are all rather despicable people on both political teams and it makes my skin crawl when I am forced to listen to their bile.

    1. Lexx

      This comment underlined. As long as we’re all focused on Team Red and Blue there’s little time left to consider a viable third party, that may represent the people rather than just the interests of the wealthy. The entrenched battle locks down all the financial resources to mount another choice. It’s the point on which the two parties agree… there will be no third party.

      1. Ready Go Set

        Democrats face an existential crisis instigated by Hillary Clinton. She wanted to win at any cost, and thought that she was going to win. Her media people said so.

        The shocking loss in 2016 caused a psychotic break. The delayed response to conceding was the first indicator, then the tantrums and the drinking. She was made to look ridiculous, not good for a vain politician. She and Democrats got exposed and so they went all in to get rid of Trump once and for all. Every dirty trick in the book. Even propping up Joe Biden to front for Obama and the support team. Now their haste to sin is seeing the light of day. When that giant fan starts up, the s**t is going to cover them all.

        100 years of progress wiped out by overweening interests, venality, greed, lust for power and all they did was disappoint loyal voters. No longer very popular at the union hall or the food market, probably shouldn’t go there without protection.

        1. Rob

          A strong case can be made that the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, are the root of all evil. The two of them ruined the Democratic Party, and the mess that they made grows ever larger, not unlike the island of plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean.

    2. Cat Burglar

      Thank you for “Everything Is Red And Blue!”

      In moments of clarity like this one, a person can see and name big and important power relations in easy to convey ways, and you did it. I am going to use that one when talking to people about politics. It describes the dogma simply, and puts it out for examination as such. I might tweak it by putting “or” where “and” is. But your phrase is a great act of debunking.

    3. square coats

      I’ve probably said this on here at least once before, but if so I’ll say again, I’m totally bewildered by the general assertion floating around out there that independent-registered voters fall in between repub voters and dem voters (though I often come across this along with various survey results showing that average indy voters’ responses are in between ave repub and ave dem voter responses, so there’s that I guess).

      I’ve always registered independent because for me it’s the only available official registration category that says “neither of the other ones” or “something else please”.

      1. some guy

        Aren’t there any number of little and tiny Third Party wannabes that one could register as?

        1. square coats

          Any of the times I’ve filled out a voter registration form there’s only been the three options, although when I’ve gone to vote there have at times been candidates with something other than d/r/i listed as their party.

  7. Gregory Etchason

    To paraphrase Gresham “Bad faith consciousness drives out good faith consciousness.”

    1. Louiedog14

      This nails it for me.

      The reason I come to Naked Capitalism is not because it’s Left, Right, Libertarian…whatever…but because it’s a haven for good faith argument.

      A catchy slogan has always been more effective at changing minds than a well-reasoned argument because people have always had shortish attention spans. But I do think Twitter has massively exacerbated this tendency. I never joined because what is really worth saying in 140 characters? (I know its longer now). But this is our public square now. Your average Far Side cartoon had more meaning than any meme I’ve ever seen, and the text of Twitter is largely the equivalent of bathroom stall graffiti from when I was young (showing my age). So our political discourse has now reached the Stella gives good head stage. I find it ironic that Liberals are so convinced that the language of he/she/they or Latino/Latinx has the power to create a more just world, but the devolution of discourse into simple, binary invective is no problem.

      I like Taibbi a lot. To the Financial Crisis: Griftopia and ECONNED were a great tandem. Matt’s work was a great intro to what had happened, and written with such panache and humor that I could read the gory nitty-gritty details of Yves work without randomly punching stuff.

      But alas, these days the CIA is our friend, good faith argument is the enemy, and poor little old anarchist me has been consigned to the Fascist camp.

      1. semper loquitur

        “I find it ironic that Liberals are so convinced that the language of he/she/they or Latino/Latinx has the power to create a more just world, but the devolution of discourse into simple, binary invective is no problem.”

        Wokels hate irony, so they definitely wouldn’t see it in themselves. It represents a lost opportunity to moralize. Their faith-based ontological and epistemic notions, namely that language is reality and morality is truth, are ill-equipped to deal with the fact that their framing deconstructs itself.

  8. dave

    Taibbi is always willing to point out “why did this party do x when they say they support y” and partisans can’t have that.

  9. Mark Gisleson

    As usual, by the time the swells get around to kicking the heretics out of the temple, the heretics are the only remaining true believers.

  10. Cassandra

    This is really not a new development. As I said a couple of days ago, it is necessary to paint one’s opponent as ultimate, irredeemable evil in order to extort votes for one’s own unpopular “lesser evil” candidate. Given that the establishment’s preferred candidates and policies are clearly against the interests of the general public, character assassination is the go-to technique.

    In the fall of 2015, when Bernie began showing widespread support and becoming a serious threat, the “Bernie bro” meme suddenly appeared. That was rather a shock, because I had found volunteering for his campaign to be particularly fun and rewarding precisely because the other volunteers were such nice and upbeat people. I remember saying at the time that trashing the character of the other candidate was unpleasant but traditional, but extending the treatment to his supporters was a mistake, that HRC was going to need all those votes the next November. That was before Chuck Schumer openly admitted that the plan was to replace blue-collar workers with suburban Republican women.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I volunteered for both Sanders campaigns. Although I did this from the friendly confines of Tucson, Arizona, I never met a single Bernie Bro. Matter of fact, the most aggressive Bernie supporters I met were a couple of…


      One of them was so aggressive, she’d stop traffic to hand out Bernie flyers.

      1. Lena

        Same here. I’ve never met or spoken to a Bernie Bro. The most ardent Sanders supporters I have known are middle aged and older women whose feminist ‘creds’ would be difficult to deny.

  11. Alan Roxdale

    It seems to me that in recent weeks, the strategy of ignoring/dismissing/freezing-out the censorship complex leaks has turned into attacking the messengers. Principally Taibbi, perhaps because of his previous profile during the financial crisis.

    Nevertheless the leaks will continue to drip-drip-drip out, and a major expose on similar goings on in the larger tech companies such as Google/Microsoft/Apple will inevitably drop gasoline onto the smouldering coal fire that is the “Twitter” files, which will in time become the “Silicon Valley Files”. When that penny drops, expect the tech-bros to drop this hot potato and try to quickly pass it on as the “US Government files” (though there will be an interesting volume of foreign influence in the operations I am certain). Oh what a tangled world wide web we weave.

  12. Michael Hudson

    Well, it’s not only Matt Taibbi but Tulsi Gabbard, Dennis Kucinich and the other former left-wing Democrats who now appear on Tucker Carlson’s show. The Democrats redistricted Dennis out of Cleveland. Now watch California, Barbara Lee, etc.

    1. JohnnyGL

      My god did the crew on majority report ever hate tulsi gabbard! They spit venom at her all through the 2020 campaign.

      I didn’t like her rightward turn after that campaign, either. Gabbard made a genuine shift to the right, not taibbi. In any case, democrats never forgave her and ran her off for resigning from the DNC because the whole organization was in the tank for HRC.

      1. Objective Ace

        >Gabbard made a genuine shift to the right

        I know that’s the prevailing concensus, but could someone point to any actual policies or agenda she changed her position on that would support that statement? I’ve always assumed that “concensus” was made up by the left wing media and there is nothing to it. Happy to learn something new though

        1. square coats

          Recently I was trying to learn more about Gabbard and came across this MintPress article Macleod wrote about her back in 2021 that I think has a pretty good overview in answering your question.


          What I’m curious about w/r/t Gabbard is her role in Special Forces in Africa, where she most recently was earlier this year. My a priori assumption is that u.s. special forces are probably up to no good in Africa, but I think a lot of speculation I’ve come across before regarding this question is based on the fact that she’s serving under Civil Affairs, which is a branch of Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations. However from what I can understand civil affairs and psyops break down into two separate branches, and so she isn’t ostensibly part of psyops work. That being said, I have no idea if there’s actually much of a meaningful difference between the two.

          Also just to say, to me Dennis Kucinich is amazing! I was one year too young to vote for him when he ran for president but I still have my vote for Kucinich button. Imagine how different things could’ve been :(

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Still have hopes for Gabbard but no one know enough about her to be sure of anything. Her military background is PERFECT (assuming she turns out to be Smedley Butler’s great granddaughter) or terrifying (assuming she’s a Deep State deep embed).

            The media’s astonishing refusal to dig into her (other than to pass along smears) is the real problem here. She’s been on everyone’s radar since 2016 and we still don’t even know if she’s a dog or a cat person.

            Still withholding judgment, still would like to know more.

            1. orlbucfan

              Gabbard turned me off when I found out she adheres to Fundie Hindu beliefs, and is a Modi admirer. Any Fundie organized religious adherent hits my BS meter immediately. Her POX Prop(aganda stints didn’t help her cause. The Corporate Democrats are nothing more than Raygun Lite. I quite holding my nose after Obummer. As far as Taibbi goes, I never registered on TWITter. He’s human and not pefect, and his quality has slipped a little since his reports from Russia days.

    2. Otis B Driftwood

      With all due respect, Barbara Lee, who represents my district, is no longer a champion of the progressive left. The highlight of her career was opposing war in Afghanistan. Twenty years have passed. She has since become an uncritical supporter of war.

    3. Telee

      Add to that Aaron Mate’ as well. The Young Turks hate him. Anna Kasparian actually waved her middle finger as she cursed Aaron for not supporting Russia Gate and for supporting Putin.

      Also of note is the fact that after Bernie won the first few primaries the establishment circled the wagons. For the next few months there were op-eds ( including those written by “liberals” ) in the NYT who bashed Bernie as being to radical for the American people. Then Mark Penn who was a pollster and consultant for Hillary’s campaign wrote a guest op-ed in the NYT also bashing Bernie as too radical and promoted the idea that the democrats should run Joe Manchin because his ‘mainstream’ views better align with the American people.
      In the present corrupt political system it is impossible to deal with any societal problems when the government is run to benefit our financial elite and their corporations. Witness the leasing of the drilling rights to Conoco in Alaska’s North Slope. It is a gift to Conoco in exchange for their political support in the form of campaign donations and other bribes. The hell with Global Warming! Or sending railroad workers but to work without a single paid sick day. A gift to the railroads. Or addressing the rip off by Medicare Advantage programs which gives the insurance companies 3 more years to continue their crimes. Or the EPA not even measuring for toxic dioxins after the train derailment in East Palestine. Another gift to the railroads. Or supporting the privatization and elimination of traditional Medicare by 2030. A gift to Wall Streets and private equity. One can go on and on with these type of examples. Is there anything left for the people? Oh, we don’t have the money for that!

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Agree re: Aaron Mate. I worry about him. He is a real pain in the ass to some real assholes with his testifying at the U.N. Security Council, etc.

        As for Conoco and corruption, get who is on Conoco’s board:

        Freeman (HLaw prof) is a respected name in environmental law and sustainability, serving as an adviser on energy and climate change in the Obama White House and the Biden administration’s climate action plan. She founded Harvard’s environmental and energy law program, and is currently co-chair of the elite institution’s sustainability committee.

        Chair of the sustainability committee. Wow. Maybe her idea of sustainability is more drilling in the Arctic and Bill Gates’s robot bees and shooting sulfur into the sky every two years as some kind of solution to the climate catastrophe.

        1. Paul Jurczak

          Max Blumenthal belongs to this list, too. When the first line of someone’s Wikipedia page reads: “Max Blumenthal (born December 18, 1977) is an American author, blogger, and conspiracy theorist”, you know he’s good.

  13. Wukchumni

    The spoken Taibbi and the written one are Jekyl & Hunter to me, Matt comes off as a weakling in person-and perhaps why the Donkey Show pounced on him on the basis of ‘never show weakness’.

    1. Carolinian

      He’s talked about this himself on his Kirn show–that writers are introverts who spend a lot of time alone with their keyboards and public speaking is not necessarily part of the package.

      As for the Dems, that party that is increasingly turning into Lord of the Flies, they’ve become loudmouths and bullies with introspection not part of the package. Perhaps we should blame it on social media which refine mob psychology into “likes” and a number score of social success. But doubtless it’s also because they feel their very privileged PMC existence is under threat and it is under threat. But it’s under threat from the system that they themselves created or acquiesced to rather than the masses who are just trying to get by and aren’t particularly political.

      At least rationality still has a home here on the web or some of us like to think so. And by web I mean blogs like this one and not Twitter or Facebook. If Taibbi is off the beam perhaps it’s because he thinks Twitter is a lot more important than it is.

      1. some guy

        Twitter reaches millions and is therefor important just because of its reach alone. Then too, there is treasure among the trash. A pre-censorship Twitter is where the ” covid is airborne” dissidents were able to find eachother and ooze their material out under the edges of the establishment’s Cone Of Silence. If the establishment would have had its censorship infrastructure fully up and fully functioning, it would have deleted every mention of “covid is airborne” as soon as it appeared, and then would have started disappearing all its proponents from off of Twitter.

        So Lambert Strether could never have seen them and never had their work to add to his steady tracking and updates. Plus Taibbi revealed what the Liberal Fascist Democrat operatives plan for every internet venue step by step, and they hate him for letting their cat out of the bag in such a way as normal people might notice.

        ” Giving the appearance of ” weakness is not the same thing as weakness. One hopes that Taibbi will have the time and the interest to study ( and maybe study from) Sachs and other fielders of hostile interviews. One hopes he also studies the Masters of Combat Warfare, such as Gingrich and Luntz and etc., and figures out how to work some of their knowledge into his handling of enemy inquisitors and smearmasters.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        The Dems developed some of that “Lord of the Flies” approach at DailyKos. It was a forum well-constructed for that purpose.

    2. ALM

      My thoughts exactly. Taibbi is terrible in any oral format. He comes across as tentative, halting, unsure, and boring. But as a writer, his prose is scorched earth, his aim is true, and he never misses a target. He’s outstanding and among the very best.

    3. Eclair

      “The spoken Taibbi and the written one are Jekyll & Hunter to me …”

      You said it, Wuk! I would watch Useful Idiots, before Mate, and I usually fast-forwarded through the beginning nonsense, when Taibbi and Katie Halper would joke around. He came across as a lightweight, non-serious, jokester, who couldn’t even take serious stuff seriously. Puts you off-guard, then his written words would slash with scalpel-like intensity.

      Maybe it’s this veneer of being a non-serious person, a jerk-off a**hole, then pivoting to verbally destroy the elite, the politicians, the financiers, backed up with reams of facts and loaded with devastating phraseology, that makes the mainstream Dems hate him so. (That and his dismissal of the entire “RussiaRussiaRussia” ruse.)

      His lightweight, in-person demeanor acts as a kind of camouflage, leading one on to dismiss him … or pet him, then …. ‘woomp!’ he takes off your hand!

      1. Wukchumni

        I get it though, its hard to perform in person versus QWERTY, not to typecast myself, too.

    4. Otis B Driftwood

      I dunno. His appearances live reveal a pretty decent guy who is open and honest. That he expects the same from others is a mark of his decency, and it is something awful people like Hassan exploit.

      I don’t know what his appearance on MSNBC proves other than this. And no serious person thinks this minimizes the importance of the Twitter files revelations. In fact it only underscores the contemptible state of the mainstream media, the Democratic Party, and the security state institutions.

  14. The Rev Kev

    People hate viscerally the people that they are supposed to be and we see this with modern journalists aka stenographers. If you could bring back Hunter S. Thompson, Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow to write and talk once more, they too would be forced out and would have to seek a home on substack – or publish their work overseas like Thomas Frank. It feels weird to be a part of a society where people like Aaron Maté, Vanessa Beeley Eva Bartlett, Sy Hersh and Glenn Greenwald are forced out onto the fringes while the journalist we have in different countries will straight up lie to your face – and get insulted when you don’t believe their lies.

    1. Kouros

      Yup, they would crucify Jesus all over again if he were to dare show his face to the Americans, especially if confirming Dr. Hudson’s hypothesis that the creed was saying in fact “forgive us our debts”…

      1. Samuel Conner

        and ditto if what Jesus was actually trying to save his people from was the looming war with Rome.

        Then as now, the world runs on money and blood.

    2. Samuel Conner

      The thought occurs that the charge that Taibbi’s motives are purely mercenary may be projection, or envy, or a combination of the two.

      The older I get, the more psychological dysfunction I think I see in most people (including myself). To interpret others in terms of what is most familiar — i.e., what one knows or suspects to be true about oneself — is probably one of the more fundamental of the cognitive distortions which characterize our species.


      Miller’s line, in The Expanse, “the stars are better off without us”, seems true to me most days. The gardening helps a bit, fortunately.

      1. skk

        Yup, on Twitter, some people state that a lot of the MSM reporters pile-on on Taibbi ( and Greenwald ) is due to them venting their professional jealousy having been given license to do that by their gang.

        On a broader level, over the last 20 years, the huge cutbacks in the MSM has put journalists on the precariat track so its not so surprising that people who have made a success of being a fully independent journalist – production, reporting, getting assistants and all – attract this jealousy.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        It really strikes me that the line from The Expanse expresses your feelings these days. You’ve been a source of strength with your ideas and activity during Covid especially, and to hear that resignation from you hits hard. Sadly, I can’t differ. For me, it’s like the scene at the end of “China Syndrome” when the doomed Jack Lemmon character can feel the tremor in the nuke plant before it’s about to go China Syndrome. There seems to be a similar tremor coursing through our system right now, and anyone trying to shut things down before it all blows finds themselves a target like Lemmon’s character or like Taibbi.

  15. JohnnyGL

    I’ve never really liked the crew on Majority Report. The smug oozes out of them. They talk about being ‘socialist’ like it’s an edgy fashionable brand name. They’re convinced the American people are just too stupid to understand how smart and how right they are. But because voters are too stupid and racist and still vote republican, we have to vote for democrats no matter how bad of a job they do because we’re always at risk of collapsing into fascism, and the next election is always the scariest and extra important.

    Michael Brooks was the best one of the whole bunch and after he passed, there was nothing left to salvage.

    1. semper loquitur

      Amen. Seder is the kind of guy I used to like to have in class. And I mean have. Utterly confident of their intellectual abilities. “Sharp”. I bet his mom told him he was. A lot.

      They melt like wax when things heat up. Their tone changes from smug sureness to a more papery, whiny, grudging uncertainty. When they light upon a point they think will restore their mental edifices, they blurt it out with a rushed triumphalism or a righteous scorn. When they are rebuked, they fall into a pursed-lip silence and stare a thousand miles into their desktop, upon which an achingly subjective theater of self-doubt and crumbling certitude begins it’s dreary season.

  16. Michael Fiorillo

    The professional #McResistance operatives know (even if they cannot acknowledge it publicly or to themselves) that the real enemy is Sanders, not Trump. After all, Trump is a fundraising and click/advertising goldmine, whereas, with the ascendency of a Sanders-type Social Democrat, #McResistance apparatchiks go poof. Thus the constant need for them to ratchet up TDS among the rank and file, who are primarily motivated by moral vanity, snobbery, PMC economic interests and fear.

    Oh, and Sam Seder is a moron, along with his dim hangers-on… illustrative of the Non-Existent Left that squeaks and poses online. None of them are worthy of carrying Taibbi’s laptop.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I disagree, Seder isn’t a moron. He’s very clever at making a million excuses for why democrats suck and you shouldn’t expect too much and STFU and vote for them because fascism!!!

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        Fair enough: how is “Seder is a political hack who makes effective use of moronic arguments?”

  17. timbers

    No doubt many of us have had encounters with Team Blue persons. Just your average folks you encounter who yes are a minority but quite a few of them. They hate Russia/Putin/Trump and wear it on their sleeves if allowed to and are quick to question your intelligence and/or honesty if you say things contrary to their programming. If you suggest a blog to them, they jump on The Google not to learn but to gather info for character assinxxxxx of such blog (example: MOA is “German” and you know what means).

    One such encounter on the subject of President Elect Trump sending his Military dude to talk with Russia on improving relations he insisted it was treason to my response diplomacy is legal, he suddenly loudly asked me out of context “Do you believe the holocaust happened?” in a heavily Jewish gathering. A clear character assinxxxxx attempt.

    These are people you really can’t help not to like.

    In contrast, I’ve had several interesting and unpredictable conversations with unpredictable views expressed that I had to think about and digest over time with probable Republican types or leaning Republican that were rather enjoyable.

    1. Screwball

      They hate Russia/Putin/Trump and wear it on their sleeves if allowed to and are quick to question your intelligence and/or honesty if you say things contrary to their programming. If you suggest a blog to them, they jump on The Google not to learn but to gather info for character assinxxxxx of such blog (example: MOA is “German” and you know what means).

      They hate Musk too, which was a good way for them to connect Taibbi to Musk so they can hate both. Taibbi said it best on some video I watched. How they direct and channel their hate to the “Hitler of the month” as Taibbi said it.

      I talked about alternative news to my PMC friends and I was told anything Substack was off limits as it was all fake news. I haven’t been given a list of “approved” outlets, but they seem to be the usual suspects; NTY, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC, The Lincoln Project, Aaron Ruper, Bellingcat, Morning Joe, late night comedy (they still call it that when it’s no longer funny?), and of course whatever the administration says.

      I’ve come to the conclusion they are quite proud of their own ignorance.

    1. John Wright

      For the material well being of the Democrats’ supporters, the Dems might “held their noses” and been able to manipulate the vain, insecure, none-too-clever Trump to do things for the good of the USA and the World.

      Instead we had Russia, Russia, Russia as Russia and Trump were demonized by the Dems and the HRC supporters.

      As I look back, I am not at all certain that the well-connected war mongering (Libya, Syria), TPP and PMC supporting, HRC was the lesser evil.

      A Trump presidency, carefully managed by the Democrats, might have left the USA in far better shape than it is today.

      Instead we have Biden, creating the multi-polar world unintentionally.

      Maybe that will be Biden’s signature accomplishment..

      1. tegnost

        As I look back, I am not at all certain that the well-connected war mongering (Libya, Syria), TPP and PMC supporting, HRC was the lesser evil.

        The more effective evil…as they continue to prove, with diminishing returns

      2. some guy

        Well , I was certain at the time that Clinton was the greater evil, so I voted for Trump . . . the first time.

        After he changed from Luke Trumpwalker into Captain Queeg, as visible on his “Covid show” TV appearances, he appeared too crazy and dangerous for me to vote for him a second time.

        But for all the bad that History will say about Trump, lets remember one good thing . . . he kept Clinton out of office.

  18. UserFriendlyyy

    Modern Republicans (leaders, media, and crucially, their voters as well) represent the worst threat to the American Republic since the Civil War.

    No, that would be Hillary Clinton, who even in losing, managed to break the brains of every liberal and practically guarantee war with Russia. Largely as a result of her poor leadership style, demanding complete and utter sycophancy, and a complete inability to take any responsibility for mistakes. Because of her all those pathologies spread out and got adopted by the press and her supporters.

  19. lyman alpha blob

    If today’s Democrat party wants to spot some closet Republicans, they should stop looking at Taibbi and take a look in the [family blog]ing mirror instead. They’re a bunch of anti-labor, anti-free speech, pro-capitalist, pro-corporate, Bush-hugging, hippy-punching wankers. Ronnie Rayguns would be proud of the lot of them.

    I’m a proud subscriber to Taibbi’s substack and may just pay extra next year just to spite hack-tastic so-called Congresspeople like Paskett (who has a title but no power and can’t even vote).

    1. Carolinian

      Thank you. Obama even said Reagan was his idea of a successful politician. It’s all about “making it” and much less about results.

      And of course the system itself now encourages the rise of a kind of front man president rather than an ideological leader. They seem more worried about how much money they will make after they leave office than their place in history–that thing Nixon obsessed over. Reagan set this precedent too with huge speaking fees that were controversial at the time.

      Trump pretended that his wealth made him different but it turned out he didn’t much care about results either. Ego mania seems to be our national disease.

  20. baileysinca

    Taibbi “stated” on air to Katie Halper that he voted FOR H.C. in 2016, an act I’ve held against him since. How can this not be relevant to this discussion?

      1. semper loquitur

        Right, is it relevant because he was a fool for voting for HRC or because it demonstrates he isn’t a tool of the Right?

        1. JBird4049

          Just how does a single vote during a life determine anything? This is purity policing. It is analogous to the Southern one drop rule, but for the sin of being ideologically different.

          No one is going to agree with everything you or I do or believe, unless they are mindless tools, which too often people want to have happen.

          1. semper loquitur

            I was attempting to capture the possible framing of the original comment. I don’t think Taibbi was a fool for voting for HRC.

  21. LadyXoc

    So glad to see someone of stature, a heavy-hitter like Yves Smith, go to bat for Matt Taibbi. This Manichean McCarthyism is really a drag. For anyone who is a critical thinker, this is a disaster. First they came for the journalists (except they denigrated even that status by calling them “Substackers”). I count myself as a fan of Matt Taibbi and understand what he means when he calls himself an “ACLU LIBERAL.”

  22. DJG, Reality Czar

    A reminder of where we are:


    It is particularly edifying to watch the Harpies Plaskett, Garcia, and Wasserman Schultz engage in McCarthyist attacks on Shellenberger and Taibbi. Too bad about Roe v. Wade, though–no one could have foreseen how the Democrats would mess up women’s reproductive rights. Too bad about the continuing promises to make it easier to unionize, which would be particularly important for the Democrats’ supposed constituency of women and members of minority groups.

    McCarthy was very ambitious–nothing about his grandstanding had to do with patriotism, just as Plaskett, Garcia, and Wasserman Schultz have nothing to do with concrete material benefits for the U.S. populace. And please don’t confuse them with the left. They hate the left.

  23. Alice X

    This is an email I got from Matt yesterday:

    The Craziest Friday Ever
    On staying at Substack, and leaving Twitter, I guess
    APR 7

    Earlier this afternoon, I learned Substack links were being blocked on Twitter. Since being able to share my articles is a primary reason I use Twitter, I was alarmed and asked what was going on.

    It turns out Twitter is upset about the new Substack Notes feature, which they see as a hostile rival. When I asked how I was supposed to market my work, I was given the option of posting my articles on Twitter instead of Substack.

    Not much suspense there; I’m staying at Substack. You’ve all been great to me, as has the management of this company. Beginning early next week I’ll be using the new Substack Notes feature (to which you’ll all have access) instead of Twitter, a decision that apparently will come with a price as far as any future Twitter Files reports are concerned. It was absolutely worth it and I’ll always be grateful to those who gave me the chance to work on that story, but man is this a crazy planet.

    Have a great weekend, everyone. I’m off on vacation with my kids next week, but I’ll check in. Best and take care, Matt

  24. Goingnowhereslowly

    I adore Taibbi and right now I just want to give him a hug. This insane and vicious campaign against him has clearly gotten under his skin: you could hear it in his voice on his weekly update yesterday.

    I’ve been on the receiving end of similar stuff on a much smaller scale when, after being elected to my co-op board, I turned on the ruling clique, who thought I was their girl. I discovered that they had been grossly slandering a fellow board member, among other things. The dynamic is terrifying and disorienting and very divisive.

    It seems that the theme of our times is groups convincing themselves that someone is purely evil and must be destroyed because they wrongly assumed the person was more loyal to them than to plain reality. Me, I’m more afraid of dissing plain reality than the mean girls and boys.

    I don’t see a way out. They say that things fall apart slowly and then all at once. I believe we are entering the “all at once” phase now.

  25. tevhatch

    It got worse outside the committee. In an episode that’s painful to retell, Emma Vigeland of Sam Seder’s Majority Report (a person and a show I’ve long admired) said as part of their coverage of the hearings:

    Thomas, take note of this. It’s a strong sign to self-examine if it’s getting too easy to swallow things that fit the narrative that’s close to your bias.

    If you are young, then double down on the effort. Ms. Yyves Smith is very much the odd person out, she is one of the people who as they age has become better at not following a narrative that’s too pat, and a good study. Most of the old people who I knew well changed their behavior, but in reality they didn’t turn more conservative, or racist, etc.; what happened is they lost the patience to self-check against the beliefs they had been inoculated in by their surroundings. Now that I’m old I constantly have to watch out for it.

    1. Eric L Anderson

      Thanks for that insight. Said better than my attempts to encourage broader thinking!

  26. Diogenes

    I recall reading a transcript of an interview with E.Howard Hunt who, when asked why he left the CIA, said that it was because the agency had become infiltrated with Democrats.

    Today we have the opposite problem.

    The extreme partisanship in the DNC these days is, I think, down to what Freud called “the narcissism of small differences”.

    1. KD

      PMC syndrome is a multi-factoral condition created by the combination of cognitive incest along with a psychological penchant to gather in small rooms and sniff each other’s hind quarters like dog’s at a dog park. Its found at any workplace involved in official symbolic communication, whether academia, MSM, Nat Sec organs or corporate HR. The Dems can determine by their refined sense of smell that Taibbi doesn’t belong to the correct wolf pack.

  27. KD

    Its hard to see anything other than a Uniparty, so its laughable that some nominal party is trying to destroy “democracy.” If anything, cultural issues that distract from the dismal political economy strengthen “democracy” as they encourage polarization and division. You can see the Democrats pretending to play Carl Schmitt and criminalize the opposition, but remember they love “Never Trump” Republicans like Liz Cheney. Its not a real Friends/Enemy because if it were they would be lining up Trump Supporters, its LARPy authoritarian because there is no real threat to “democracy” everyone on top is making too much money and the plebes are too distracted by culture wars to do anything against the ruling elites. (Its in places like Bucha where there exists a real Schmittian friends/enemies distinction.)

    Of course Taibbi is hated because he is demonstrating what a scam the whole thing is, orchestrated from the top. Ignore Taibbi, and just keep voting harder for Blue and one day we will gradually transform into Sweden once the Red Meanies realize that embracing LOVE and rejecting HATE is the only way to go, and the pernicious religion of Christianity eventually dies out naturally due to its irrational superstitions being refuted by SCIENCE (excepting genetics, evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, psychometrics, physical anthropology, as well as all crime statistics maintained by federal law enforcement, of course, which have all been “discredited”).

    1. Detroit Dan

      I’m not sure I get what you are saying how the Dems are “pretending to play Carl Schmitt… because if it were they would be lining up Trump Supporters”.

      The way I see it we have gone to war with Russia — destroying a country and kiling tens if not hundreds of thousands of people. This seems like serious friend/enemy stuff. How many public figures are willing to speak out on behalf of Putin’s view of the world? If that do, they will be classified as consorting with the enemy.

  28. Phichibe

    Taibbi made the unpardonable mistake of pointing out that in American politics, both major parties are kings without clothes. I doubt many of the Democrats on the committee ever heard of I.F. Stone, but Taibbi won an Izzy Award years back, and these don’t go to crypto-fascists, let alone fascist-fascists. I didn’t agree with his take on the GFC (the focus on subprime vs. the CDS market itself) but I’ve always thought he wrote what he thought, he did copious research, and was fearless. What more can you ask of a journalist?

    Ironically, Taibbi foreshadowed his defenestration from polite coastal American society in his book “Hate Inc”. By pairing Rachel Maddow with Bill Oreilly he was suddenly an apostate to the cause of right thinking. Likewise with Greenwald, whom I also disagreed with on major issues, and Chris Hedges, whom I agree with more but not all. Guess what? I don’t need an echo chamber, I need heterodox writers who will challenge my preconceptions and make me think.

    THe funny thing about the Democrats’ treatment of Taibbi and Schellenberger is that it was a etiolated version of the minute of hate that George Orwell described in 1984, and which Taibbi has used as the underlying theme of Hate Inc. The Democrats should leave vitriolic hatred to the Republicans, they do it much better. I know that much of the effort was to defang and discredit the Hunter Biden stories but to attack the messengers doesn’t kill the message. Just say Hunter is slime, so is Jared Kushner, but while Jared doesn’t have Hunter’s personal defects, Hunter didn’t deliver American foreign policy to a government that does not have America’s interests at heart. ALso Jared is a way bigger thief than Hunter, his boutique hedge fund bankrolled by the Saudis and Emiraties is delivering him over $40 million/year in ‘management’ fees alone. Hunter got a few hundred thousand from Burisma and a few million from a Chinese investor. Kushner’s worse. Maybe he should get a crack habit. Worked wonders for Hunter.

  29. Cetra Ess

    Just to observe how this has played out with my own friends and acquaintances, sadly, some of my friends are unable to see that the issue of state control of social media is overwhelmingly more important and more impactful/signifcant than whatever they think of Musk, for them Musk is the more important matter.

    And from what I can discern, it’s only because he “stole” Twitter from…not sure who, bottom line is for them he’s not the rightful owner of the thing. He has destroyed Twitter, despite that it looks like it’s still operating to me. He introduced the blue checkmark which is apparently worse than Hitler. And it doesn’t help that he’s the wealthiest.

    By the way, I asked ChatGPT to list propaganda methods. Note how many of these correspond to what Taibbi is experiencing. From ChatGPT:

    Propaganda methods are techniques used to manipulate information, ideas, and opinions to influence and control people’s behavior. Here are some common propaganda methods:

    Name-calling: This is a technique used to create negative associations by using negative labels or name-calling to discredit a person, group, or idea.

    Testimonials: This is a technique used to build credibility by using endorsements or testimonials from respected people or authorities.

    Bandwagon: This is a technique used to create a sense of social pressure or conformity by suggesting that “everyone else is doing it,” or that it is the popular or accepted choice.

    Emotional appeals: This is a technique used to appeal to people’s emotions rather than reason, often by using vivid imagery, personal anecdotes, or appealing to people’s fears or desires.

    Glittering generalities: This is a technique used to create positive associations by using vague or undefined terms that sound good but have no real meaning.

    Simplification: This is a technique used to oversimplify complex issues, often by reducing them to simple slogans or catchphrases.

    False or misleading information: This is a technique used to manipulate information or present false or misleading information as fact to support a particular point of view.

    Scapegoating: This is a technique used to blame a particular person or group for a problem or issue, often unfairly, to distract attention from the real causes.

  30. Victor Sciamarelli

    Recently, on the thirtieth anniversary of the siege at Waco, Texas, Trump gave a rally speech. The Branch Davidians at Waco did nothing illegal, no charges were filed, no evidence found. Yet, Waco was the largest massacre of Americans by American Feds since 1890 at Wounded Knee.
    Gore Vidal had something to say about Waco. He wrote, “Although our rulers have revived the word [terrorist] to describe violent enemies of the US, most of today’s actual terrorists can be found within our own governments, federal, state, municipal. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (known as ATF), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), FBI, IRS, etc., are so many Jacobins at war against the lives, freedom, and property of our citizens.”
    Left liberals used to talk like that before some type of body snatching virus caused the Dems to abandon people like Taibbi for the comfort and happiness in the warm embrace of the Intel agencies and corporate fascism.

    1. John Wright

      When people refer to the January 6 “Insurrection ” as a significant domestic threat, I mention “Who controlled the court system, FBI, military, police, national guard, and penal system on January 6, 2021?

      It wasn’t the “insurrectionists”.

      Then I use Waco as an example of how the US Government can respond to what it perceives as unacceptable behavior..

  31. SadietheCat

    Everything is binary now except sexuality.

    As Taibbi said:
    It’s always “Vote for us or you’re a right-wing insurrectionist Putin-lover,” which is the opposite of persuasive.

  32. Daniel Raphael

    As I remarked in another discussion thread, consciousness reflects–and goes towards further influencing–the material underpinnings of the system in which it is situated. U$A is rapidly trending in a sharply authoritarian direction because the structural contradictions of capitalism can only be effectively addressed by the 1% via domestic austerity, increased repression (suppression of information, outright dismantling of supposed rule-of-law mechanisms, etc.), and accelerating militarism & war. We are not approaching a crisis–we are in one. It was remarked to me years ago, there is a death wish at the core of capitalism. It’s 50/50 whether it’s more insane or evil, but both characterizations fit increasingly generalized events like the expulsion of legislators in Tennessee, the outright bribery of Supreme Court “justices,” & as always, the ability of the biggest banks to wallow outright in their corruption. We live in interesting times. To the extent it is a spectator sport, we can only expect this plunge to continue and intensify. There is no “technical fix” to a system that is irrational & self-destructive–as someone remarked long ago, we will be its undertakers or ourselves be interred by its collapse.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      “To the extent it is a spectator sport”

      “Mr. Nixon,
      I ain’t a-fixin’
      to speak Spanish on a plane
      or polish off the Liberty Bell.

      I just wanna sit here on the shelf,
      and watch ya’ finish off the place by yourselves.

      Please just let me do what I wanna:
      just lay around the house and smoke

      Brewer & Shipley, “Oh Mommy, I Ain’t No Commie” circa 1968.

  33. Camelotkidd

    We are caught between the Scylla and Charybdis of American fascism. Chose your monster—right-wing populism, Trump style. Or the national security state so beloved by authoritarian Democrats.
    Everyone is a winner.

  34. Mira Martin-Parker

    The other day I listened to an interview on KPFA discussing the history of democracy with a historian from U.C. Berkeley. When the issue of Socrates came up, she seemed to side with his accusers. Socrates in her view, was corrupting the youth ideologically and was worshiping a different god. I thought this an unusual admission on her part. Yes, Socrates was calling attention to the complexity of existing “democratic” social power relations by flamboyantly appearing in public barefoot and poor as a free citizen. Socrates was also an honored war hero and the elder Pericles’ charged with overseeing his adopted son Alcibades when in the military. Socrates was no average citizen; he could have held high office if he wanted to. Not only was this chosen flamboyant display of poverty on the part of the reputed “wisest man in Athens” controversial, but to add insult to injury, Socrates also flamboyantly proclaimed to know nothing and proceeded to embarrass elites in public by politely asking them uncomfortable questions.

    Socrates knew they couldn’t answer the questions honestly because doing so would reveal many of them to be frauds and parasites (the sophists). Many of these elites and “teachers” claimed in public beliefs they did not actually hold in private.

    Sound familiar?

    Socrates and his student Plato were deep into the symbolic languages of math and geometry, as were many Athenian elites. These private teachings were the Mystery schools and the advanced theoretical knowledge they dealt in was passed down privately. When Athenian elites spoke publicly about “equality” they knew these words were ambiguous. Mathematical meanings of terms such as “identity” “equality” and “truth” describe perfect relations between ideal “things.” The philosophical distinction between deductive and inductive reasoning clarifies this distinction, and Aristotle’s three laws of thought are used to compel us in argument to clarify how we’re using such terms and to commit to consistency regarding usage within the same one argument.

    The “crime” Socrates committed was to reveal this logical distinction openly. Just as teaching slaves to read was taboo in the American South, teaching young citizens (critical thinking (advanced math and logic) in public was taboo for members of the Mysteries. This was the job of priests. Socrates was interfering with their functional territory. Like Teamsters, the priests as a class did not tolerate independents trying to move into their intellectual terrain. Educating and enlightening the youth was THEIR job, their social function, not his. He had no right to free the “slaves” (the non-initiates) by teaching them to distinguish between ideal objects (ideas) and physical ones (facts). Educating people was perceived as their unique natural right, and he was upsetting the social order by exposing the influential complexity involved in social power. Psychological influence (organized power) and physical force (organized violence) are not the same, not equal. These are two separate social functions, and two different social classes.

    Here we are. The exact same applies today. Liberals do not believe in private what they publicly. They practice Plato’s theories in private (that series of footnotes in Western thought), and they claim to believe in “equality” in public. Literally this true, they believe in SYMBOLIC equality: two plus two is four. But this is only half the story of relations of identity, equality, and truth between things. The nature of both inspiration (subjection to outside influence at the level of persuasion), and the nature of numeric objects (ideal/perfect ones) are NOT VISIBLE nor are they empirically verifiable. In other words, the people/the many must trust and have faith in the honor of those that lead them, because we have no way to verify for certain whether or not who our leaders are in public and who they are in private coincide.

    Wisdom, understanding, belief, and opinion are four very different and not equal states of mind. This was Socrates’ point. And it’s a point without parts…

  35. Carla

    Great article by Tom Neuburger, with the exception of his considering Bernie any kind of solution. System change is required.

    1. some guy

      ” Before there can be a revolution, there first has to be a revolution between the ears.” –Butch Swaim

      And who was Butch Swaim? I remember reading once that Charles Walters described him as the ” house intellectual” for the National Farmers Organization.

      Here is a referrence to Butch Swaim in a film his own self, . . . .in ” U.S. farm report. Observation of feedlots in the western states ” which is ” A film showing Butch Swaim leading a panel about feedlots in the west, specifically in Colorado.” Here is a link to the site.

      Why is this relevant? The quote itself is relevant. There won’t be any hope of System change until several tens of millions of people understand the System changes they want to make and what they want to achieve through those System changes. That will need several tens of millions of revolutions between several tens of millions of sets of ears. That will need years of teach-ins, learn-ins, thousands of Occupy Reading Rooms all over the country, etc. It will have to reach a whole different sets of tens of millions of people not involved with or connected to the Democranons, the Clintanons or the Blueanons.

      I’m surprised and amazed that a “search engine” could find this. This search engine has surprised me.

      ( I would be surprised and amazed if Noam Chomsky has ever heard of Butch Swaim. Or Charles Walters. Or the National Farmers Organization. But maybe Noam Chomsky will surprise and amaze me.)

  36. XXYY

    I think a lot of this traces back to the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Clinton had everything going for her, yet she lost the election to a reality show host and huckster. In desperation, her handlers concocted a story to explain her defeat: the Russians did it!

    This was extemporized at the moment to keep Democratic financial backers from firing Clinton’s campaign handlers en masse. But I think it ended up working wildly beyond anyone’s expectations, and taught the Democratic establishment a lesson that blaming the ruskies and their fellow travelers is a great explanation for almost anything.

    It also developed a weird synergy with (a) the neocon establishment who has always coveted the Eurasian land mass, and (b) the grievance-industrial complex, which thrives on identifying enemies in our midst and performative proclamations of purity.

    We are in for a rough time of it.

    1. Cat Burglar

      Good call.

      This and the Russiagate episode lit up the chain of patron-client relations right in the open, where we can watch the centrist functionaries do their work. Moments of clarity like this one do not happen every day; you can see exactly what they do, just like when a roving RC-135 lights up the air defenses of another nation.

      They are still desperate now. Compare the Vietnam War years, when only a few narrowly distributed publications and teach-ins provided most real reporting on the war machine, with now, when facts uncomfortable for the powers are in global almost instant dissemination, and you can see why. Between the Sanders outbreak and the ability to easily debunk the public statements of party and government officers, they are struggling and failing to keep a lid on it all. As has often been observed on this site, these are not the actions of a confident ruling class. I guess we can expect more of the same, but desperate people often make big mistakes, and their difficulty might be an opportunity.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I do think that this was when the hate for Taibbi really started to escalate. He was quite outspoken in calling Russiagate a propaganda campaign with no substance, and maintained that view the whole time the Democrats were pinning all their hopes on it (remember the Mueller votives?)

      To this day Democrats are furiously pretending that it wasn’t a massive own goal and the (comprehensively disproved) charges were actually true, and Taibbi is continuing to confront them. They can’t attack him on the evidence, because the evidence supports him. Their only options are to actually listen to him and change their minds (it’ll be a cold day in Hell) or to try and discredit him somehow to give them an excuse for not listening to anything he says. Hence the character assassination.

  37. David in Friday Harbor

    I’m surprised that nobody here has mentioned Mehdi Hassan’s despicable half-hour MSNBC in-person ad hominem attack against Taibbi earlier this week that’s available on YouTube. Taibbi’s shock, hurt, and disbelief can be read on his face throughout.

    Taibbi’s long-form journalism and books remain some of the best reporting I’ve ever read, especially The Divide and I Can’t Breathe. Since being forced to flee The eXile his work has been far from the self-reverential Gonzo horse-pucky of HST. Taibbi appears to be one of the few writers today capable of genuine empathy for other human beings.

    When I worked as a prosecutor one of my mantras was “Never fall in love with your witnesses, especially not your snitches.” Elon Musk was a gold-plated source but he was clearly manipulating the Twitter Files releases. Taibbi has appeared from the get-go to implicitly acknowledge this but his ethics prevent him from “burning his source.”

    Taibbi’s biggest “sin” was writing Hate Inc. in 2019, a scathing account of how the corporate infotainment industry engages in “manufacturing discontent” (with a hat-tip to Chomsky). Not his best writing, but a response to the personal attacks and veiled threats to his family made after he questioned the ludicrous Russiagate narrative being spun by the Clintonite crypto-GOP who had hijacked the DNC in order to enrich themselves.

    America is no longer a democracy. Our self-styled elite politicians fear “populism” and “the mob” and call it fraud rather than accountability. The Insane Clown President (another of Taibbi’s brilliant aphorisms) was a symptom, not the disease.

    We are in serious trouble as a society.

  38. Bsn

    I just love the picture at the beginning of the article. Taibbi has that incredulous “are you serious?” look and Shellenberger has a sad, “I can’t believe the idiocy” appearance. Of course, it’s only a .3 second in time, but telling. Sad but true.

  39. Glen

    Yes, this has been distressing to watch. Getting accurate reporting is increasingly difficult, and Matt has a very good track record for accurate reporting, and has a sense of humor that matches my own so I’ve avidly followed his reporting since his return to America.

    Lately, the search for accurate reporting has become much more difficult. I was taught in high school that ALL REPORTING IS BIASED, and it’s up to us as citizens to understand the bias (and our own bias) as part of understanding the world around us. Is that really so hard to understand? If we retreat into walled “news” camps, we are ultimately doing what those in charge WANT US to do. Having the 99% arguing over table scraps leaves the 1% free to rule where nothing will fundamentally change, and if there is one thing that the 99% of Americans agree on is that we need fundamental change.

  40. Adam Eran

    To me, this is Democrats doubling down on (Democrat) Boss Tweed’s saying “I don’t care who people vote for as long as I can pick the candidates.” If anyone mentions something outside team blue vs. team red, they are bound to be ostrasized.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Substack is IMNSHO missing two things:

      1) A “blogroll”

      2) Subscription packages. There’s no way I can accord the 30-50 substacks I should read. I should be able to subscribe to a large number for a substantial discount (and the more I subscribe, the more the discount).

      Sort of a fake blogosphere on a single platform but here we are…

      1. some guy

        How big a discount could Substack give for packages of substacks and still collect enough money to be able to pay its substackers enough to substack? ( They may eventually decide that this is a question worth exploring).

  41. JustTheFacts

    I honestly cannot understand how intelligent people can believe

    “Modern Republicans (leaders, media, and crucially, their voters as well) represent the worst threat to the American Republic since the Civil War. “

    Bringing us to the edge of World War 3, destroying the trust in the dollar by confiscating another country’s sovereign reserves and pissing off the Saudis (risking its world reserve currency status), destroying international relations by monomaniacally focusing on Ukraine to the exclusion of anything else, demonstrating incompetence and unreliability by dumping Afghanistan, all represent real and present dangers to the American Republic. Whatever one might think of Trump, he didn’t push things this far past their limits.

    I also don’t understand why intelligent people can believe such things, because I no longer even believe in the pretend duopoly. It’s all bread and circuses. It seems so obvious that they want you to think the problem is other Americans, not them, so they can keep pushing the policies they want, but most Americans wouldn’t if they paid any attention.

  42. Jeremy

    I would say yeah i actually am skeptical about access journalism. Taibbi himself said yesterday that the project’s continuance depended on Elon’s personal whim, as if that doesn’t have any implications for what MT was producing. Sorry but that relationship dynamic reduces a potentially meaningful story to the level of corporate PR for the new ownership. Going through a document trove and producing what you say is important for public consumption requires that i trust you and he’s been repeatedly disingenuous throughout this affair, as he has been before (throwing Ames to the wolves, etc.)

  43. Aaron

    Any of these journalists, Taibbi included, who do not tow the Dem party line, regardless of the facts, are summarily excommunicated. Doesn’t matter what the issue is.
    From Russiagate to the Nordstream bombing. You will be a good little PR media soldier or you will be destroyed. No quarter.
    Greenwald, Mate, Taibbi, Sy Hersh etc. Great journalists are now apostates to the religion of the Democratic party(well the blob as a whole, really)and their media armies.
    The talking points from Vigeland to the Daily Beast to MSNBC are exactly the same, there is no substantive difference. Only little stylistic tweaks. Careerist piggies oinking on command. I find them all equally repulsive.

  44. Screwball

    Someone quiz up Woodward & Bernstein. Have we heard anything from them about this saga?

  45. KLG

    Late to the party. There can be little to add to the post and to the comments, other than to say my experience since the Götterdämmerung centering on Election Night 2016 has been broadly similar to those of this community. A good friend, or so I thought, cancelled me when my prediction came true that Donald Trump would beat Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College in the only vote that counted. I suppose the icing on the cake was when I laughed at 9:30 that fateful Tuesday night when the NYT placed Trump’s probability of victory above 90%, while all of my PMC peeps were wailing and gnashing their teeth. Then there is the fact that I have stayed away from the sackcloth and ashes because I’m not the one who needs to repent (in this particular case). And from now on, “cognitive incest” is one more technical term the NC commentariat has taught me that I will use in the future. Thank you, KD! The mental image of the sniffing going on in that small room is absolutely perfect!

    Anyway, long live Taibbi, Hedges, Mate, Hersh, and Greenwald! Since neither Obi Wan Kenobi nor George Smiley are available, they are our only hope.

    1. wol

      Like you, I predicted Trump over Hillary, but on facebook. It cost me professionally and I closed my account but JOMO is worth it. My ‘clients’ since are PMC adjacent and I keep my mouth shut. Minutes ago I contributed to a Free Assange fundraiser.

  46. Jeff

    Living in LA, it’s obvious what the problem is. The constant lying and conning of a gullible, easy to fool/scare/anger voter base makes them easy to manipulate and control. It’s an easy mind (family blog) to pull off once you see how often they take the bait.

    It doesn’t matter that public schools suck or that crime and homelessness and drug addiction is rampant. It doesn’t matter that housing isn’t affordable or that half of the city council outed themselves as bigots or have been prosecuted by the FBI for fraud.

    Just keep voters scared of orange man bad. Incredibly effective. Taibbi puts the spotlight on this con game.

  47. HateFeed

    If you have a solid moral compass, the hatred from the people you are fighting should be a great confirmation that you are doing something right.

    “I welcome their hatred”

    Also, adversity is a wonderful way to clean house when it comes to relations.

  48. jake

    There *has* been a change in Taibbi. His emphasis these days is tirelessly woke, as it were: preoccupied with the inconsequential, as if pointing out stupidity and hypocrisy on the other side is a substitute for engaging with actual public policy.

    Read a few weeks of his Twitter (or Greenwald’s for that matter), and what does the polemic amount to, beyond contrarian rhetorical triumphs mounted against fools and knaves?

  49. Dr Duh

    I read the virtual gang assault on Matt Taibbi by Democrats as further proof of the uniparty. The same uniparty that intimidated Trump into not pardoning Snowden and Assange.

    I always looked at the 1984 election loss as the turning point, when the Democratic Party decided to sell its soul and embrace Wall Street via the DLC. But after seeing how the uniparty came after Trump, first with the rhetoric that he was a fascist, then the Russia hoax, then with Covid, then the insurrection bs and now these most recent charges, I’ve become a lot more skeptical.

    I gasped when Schumer publicly threatened Trump on behalf of the IC. Never in my entire life did I think that was possible. Now it’s just part of a pattern, makes me wonder what is in the JFK archive that they don’t want released.

  50. David Anthony

    It’s not just Dems.

    He’s been wandering into right wing talking points for a while now. Leftists, like myself, are pretty done with Taibbi.

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