Matt Taibbi: Unraveling the Journalist’s Impact on Modern Media

Real Name:Matthew Colin Taibbi
Birthday:March 2, 1970
Net Worth$2.5 million
Height:187 cm
Occupation:American Author, Journalist

Matt Taibbi is an accomplished American author, journalist, and podcaster, known for his extensive work in various fields such as finance, media, politics, and sports. Born on March 2, 1970, Taibbi’s career has seen contributions to renowned publications, most notably as a former contributing editor for Rolling Stone.

Over the years, Taibbi has authored several books that display his wide-ranging expertise on diverse subjects. His journalism endeavors have also found a home on Substack, where he publishes Racket News – a newsletter providing insights and analysis on topics such as censorship, elections, and the American press. In addition, he serves as the co-host of the podcast Useful Idiots, further cementing his influence within the media landscape.

Early Life and Education

Boston Roots

Matt Taibbi was born on March 2, 1970, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, but grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the son of Mike Taibbi, an NBC television reporter, and Siobhan Walsh. Growing up in Boston, Taibbi was exposed to a vibrant and diverse culture, helping shape his later experiences in journalism.

Concord Academy

For his high school education, Taibbi attended the Concord Academy, a prestigious private school in Massachusetts. While at Concord, he developed a penchant for writing and an interest in journalism, laying the groundwork for his future career.

Bard College

After graduating from high school, Taibbi continued his education at Bard College, a liberal arts college in upstate New York. Throughout his time at Bard, Matt honed his journalistic skills and expanded his worldview. He would later go on to use these skills in his international reporting and book writing pursuits.

In summary, Matt Taibbi’s early life in Boston and education at prestigious institutions like Concord Academy and Bard College played significant roles in shaping his journalistic career. His experiences in these environments helped him develop the skills and perspective needed to become a successful writer and journalist.

Journalistic Beginnings

The Moscow Times

Matt Taibbi began his journalistic career in the early 1990s, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. He found himself in Russia and started working for The Moscow Times, an English-language newspaper. Taibbi’s time at the publication helped him gain experience and develop his skills as a journalist. He contributed valuable insights into the dynamic changes occurring in post-Soviet Russia.

The Exile

In 1997, Taibbi co-founded an alternative English-language biweekly newspaper called The eXile alongside Mark Ames. Based in Moscow, The eXile was known for its provocative content, scathing critiques of Russian politics, and satire. Throughout its existence, the paper gained a loyal following and a reputation for pushing the boundaries of journalism in Russia with its unique mix of hard-hitting investigative reports and dark humor.

Coverage of Post-Soviet Russia

During his time as a journalist in Russia, Taibbi explored various topics relating to post-Soviet Russia and its political landscape. With both The Moscow Times and The eXile, he provided valuable reporting on issues such as:

  1. Economic reforms: The rapid transition from a socialist to a market economy directly impacted the lives of Russian citizens. Taibbi’s reporting shed light on the challenges many Russians faced during this transition.
  2. Political power struggles: As the Soviet Union dissolved, various power players emerged within Russia, trying to exert their influence. Taibbi documented the rise of figures like Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
  3. Society and culture: The fall of the Soviet Union led to significant cultural shifts in Russia. Taibbi’s work captured the pulse of a nation in transition, offering a unique perspective on the evolving landscape of Russian society.

By covering these essential topics, Matt Taibbi offered a unique window into a tumultuous period in Russian history and developed a strong foundation for the successful journalistic career that would follow.

Mainstream Media and Rolling Stone

National Magazine Award

Matt Taibbi is an accomplished journalist who has made a significant impact on mainstream media, especially during his tenure as a contributing editor at Rolling Stone. In 2008, he received the prestigious National Magazine Award for columns and commentary. This recognition is a testament to Taibbi’s skill in weaving compelling narratives and offering insightful perspectives on various topics.

Investigative Journalism Features

Throughout his career, Taibbi has been known for his dedication to investigative journalism. While working with Rolling Stone, he wrote several features, delving into intricate details and uncovering hidden stories. These investigative pieces often revolved around pressing issues such as politics, economics, and social justice. Taibbi’s ability to navigate complex topics and present them in an appealing manner solidified his role as an influential investigative reporter in the mainstream media.

One example of Taibbi’s remarkable work is his book “I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street,” which explores the story behind the Eric Garner case. As an experienced journalist, he delved into the details of police misconduct and systemic injustices impacting African American communities. This book is a prime example of Taibbi’s ability to tackle contentious subjects with sensitivity and composure, keeping the focus on those affected by the issues.

In summary, Matt Taibbi’s contributions to mainstream media and Rolling Stone showcase his exceptional skills as an investigative reporter. His writing has earned him the esteemed National Magazine Award, and his dedication to journalism has resulted in impactful articles and book releases. His work continues to engage and inform readers with his knowledgeable and neutral approach to storytelling.

Notable Works and Publications

The Great Derangement

The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion is a non-fiction book published in 2009, where Matt Taibbi explores the US political system and its impact on society. In this work, he discusses the divide created by political extremism and how these beliefs are detrimental to the nation’s overall well-being. The Great Derangement dives into topics such as media sensationalism, religious fanaticism, and political corruption.


Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America is a non-fiction book published in 2010. In this work, Taibbi investigates the causes and players behind the 2008 financial crisis. He dissects the complex web of events, schemes, and corruption that led to the housing bubble, the fall of major financial institutions, and the recession that followed. The book reveals how Wall Street manipulated the system for their own benefit, leaving the public to suffer the consequences.

The Divide

In The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, published in 2014, Taibbi addresses the increasing income inequality in the United States. Through a series of investigative reports, he meticulously documents the stark contrast between how the rich and poor are treated within the legal system. The Divide illustrates the double standard in the enforcement of laws and the erosion of social and economic justice.

Insane Clown President

Published in 2017, Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus is a collection of Taibbi’s insightful essays in which he reports on the 2016 presidential election. The book is a mix of sharp humor and hard-hitting analysis, focusing on the media spectacle, the political climate, and the rise of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. Insane Clown President offers a critical look at the election and its impact on American politics.

Hate Inc.

In Hate Inc.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another, released in 2019, Taibbi analyzes the modern media landscape and its role in fueling division within society. He unearths the tactics used by media outlets to provoke outrage, foster fear, and heighten polarization. By dissecting the manipulation of information in news coverage, Taibbi highlights the consequences of mass media’s quest for profit at the expense of journalistic integrity and the common good.

Political Commentary and Analysis

Politics and Media

Matt Taibbi has built a career as a political commentator and analyst, providing insight on subjects such as politics, media, and social issues. Taibbi frequently discusses the intersection of politics and media, highlighting the role that media bias, sensationalism, and misinformation can play in shaping public opinion. In his work, he often critiques both liberal and conservative media outlets for perpetuating divisive narratives that, at times, seem to unite left and right critics of American mainstream media. For example, Taibbi has criticized media coverage of political figures like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders for focusing on spectacle and controversy, rather than policy and substance.

Censorship and Free Speech

Matt Taibbi is known for his opinions on censorship and free speech. He has written extensively on the subject, often arguing that the suppression of controversial ideas and censorship contributes to polarization and undermines democratic principles. Taibbi also examines the role of social media platforms and their increasing influence on free speech as they navigate the line between moderation and censorship. His writings emphasize the importance of preserving an open exchange of ideas, allowing dissenting voices to be heard, and fostering constructive debate in order to maintain a healthy democratic society.

Democratic and Republican Parties

In his critiques of the American political landscape, Matt Taibbi has analyzed and dissected both major political parties, the Democrats and Republicans. Although critical of aspects within both parties, Taibbi has been particularly vocal about his concerns regarding the Democratic establishment. He contends that the party has struggled to maintain its progressive messaging, often due to internal conflicts and outside influences. On the other hand, he has also highlighted the populist shift within the Republican party, largely attributed to the emergence of figures like Donald Trump.

Table 1: Key Themes in Taibbi’s work

Themes Examples
Media Bias The influence of media outlets on shaping public opinion
Sensationalism Coverage focusing on spectacle and controversy
Censorship The suppression of controversial ideas and its impact on free speech
Social Media Platforms Navigating the line between moderation and censorship
Democratic Party Critiques of the progressive messaging, internal conflicts and outside influences
Republican Party Analysis of the populist shift, emergence of figures like Donald Trump

Throughout his career, Matt Taibbi has proven to be a confident and knowledgeable commentator on political matters, always presenting his arguments with clarity and neutrality. His writings and analyses provide valuable insights into the complex and ever-changing world of American politics, media, and society.

Racket and Substack

Founding Racket

Matt Taibbi, an award-winning author and investigative reporter, founded Racket News on the Substack platform. Substack is known for empowering writers to create and distribute their content independently while monetizing through subscriptions. Taibbi’s expertise and reputation in investigative journalism provide his readers with valuable insights and perspectives on various topics.

Subscription-Based Model

Racket News operates on a subscription-based model, offering readers exclusive content and access. The platform boasts hundreds of thousands of subscribers, showcasing its popularity and the value readers place on Taibbi’s work. As a part of their subscription, readers receive regular news, features, columns, and creative writing curated by Matt Taibbi himself. Additionally, subscribers can access the America This Week podcast, featuring insightful conversations between Matt and prominent novelist, Walter Kirn.

The Twitter Files

One notable feature on Racket News is the “The Twitter Files” series of posts. In these articles, Matt Taibbi focuses on various aspects, events, and controversies related to the popular social media platform, Twitter. By leveraging his investigative and analytical skills, Taibbi offers a unique perspective into the ever-evolving world of social media and its impact on society and discourse.

Influences and Contemporary Comparisons

Hunter S. Thompson

Matt Taibbi has often been compared to and influenced by the legendary journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson. Like Thompson, Taibbi has an irreverent, hard-hitting reporting style. Both journalists are known for their in-depth investigations and scathing critiques of political establishments. Taibbi has cited Thompson as an inspiration, noting his fusion of personal experiences with detailed observations in his reporting.

Notable works by Thompson include:

  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  • Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72
  • Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

Glenn Greenwald and Bari Weiss

Taibbi shares similarities with other contemporary journalists like Glenn Greenwald and Bari Weiss. All three have a critical view of mainstream media and challenge conventional wisdom. Taibbi, Greenwald, and Weiss have faced backlash from traditional media circles for their contrarian stances.

Journalist Notable Works
Glenn Greenwald No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State
Bari Weiss How to Fight Anti-Semitism

Media Landscape and Legacy

In the contemporary media landscape, Matt Taibbi’s work is part of a broader trend addressing the culture war phenomenon. He has written extensively on the polarizing effect of the media on public discourse. In his book Hate, Inc.: Why today’s media makes us despise one another, Taibbi explores the reasons behind the media’s contribution to societal division and offers a critique of the modern news industry. As media continues to evolve, Taibbi’s work serves as a timely reminder of journalism’s role in maintaining a healthy, democratic society.

Controversies and Criticisms

Russiagate Coverage

Matt Taibbi has faced criticism for his coverage of the Russiagate investigations. He frequently questioned the mainstream media’s narrative on the issue, particularly that of MSNBC and its host Rachel Maddow. Taibbi claimed that the Russiagate story was sensationalized and that certain media personalities, like Maddow, used it to boost their ratings. Some critics argued that Taibbi’s skepticism downplayed the severity of the investigation, while others appreciated his willingness to challenge the dominant narrative.

COVID-19 Reporting

In his coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taibbi also faced controversies. He stirred debate by questioning the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry, or Big Pharma, and the media. He expressed concern that some narratives around the pandemic might be influenced by the interests of pharmaceutical companies and their profits, rather than public health. While some readers praised his critiques as an important examination of potential industry influence, others argued that his skepticism could contribute to vaccine hesitancy or mistrust in medical experts.

Confronting Mainstream Media

Matt Taibbi has long been known for his confrontational approach towards mainstream media, with many critics claiming that he challenges the status quo in journalism. Often, he questions the motivations and ethics of major news organizations, citing sensationalism and corporate interests as factors that detract from objective reporting. While Taibbi’s critiques of media have garnered him a large following, they have also drawn accusations of being overly negative or divisive, with some suggesting that he is contributing to distrust in journalism.

Personal Philosophy and Approach

Journalistic Ethics

Matt Taibbi is a respected journalist known for his commitment to the basic tenets of journalistic ethics. He has consistently pushed for more accurate, balanced, and objective reporting in an era where sensationalism and agenda-driven journalism have become increasingly prevalent. Taibbi’s dedication to the principles of truth-telling, fairness, and accountability is evident in his reporting across various topics, including finance, media, politics, and sports.

Advocacy for Transparency

A key aspect of Taibbi’s approach is his strong advocacy for transparency. He believes that greater openness and access to information can help combat corruption and hold powerful entities accountable. In his writing and podcasts, Taibbi frequently discusses the importance of giving voice to the marginalized and disenfranchised, thus promoting a more inclusive public discourse.

  • Emphasis on the need for open access to information
  • Support for whistle-blowers and journalistic sources
  • Highlighting the role of transparency in combating corruption

Critique of Industry Practices

Taibbi’s work often involves critiquing industry practices and exposing corruption and malfeasance in different sectors. His in-depth examinations of the financial industry, for example, have led to greater awareness of systemic problems and helped spur calls for reform. He examines how media outlets themselves may contribute to distortion and misinformation, driven by profit motives or adherence to specific ideologies. Taibbi’s critiques are not limited to any particular political or social group, which underscores the impartiality that characterizes his reporting.

Key areas of scrutiny:

Industry Examples of Critique
Finance Exposes unscrupulous behavior and regulatory failures
Media Dissects problematic coverage and media-driven narratives
Politics Analyzes the role of money and influence in shaping policy decisions

Beyond Journalism

Podcasting with Useful Idiots

In addition to his work in journalism, Matt Taibbi has explored other media formats to communicate his ideas and insights. One notable venture is his co-hosting role on the podcast Useful Idiots. Launched in 2019, Taibbi and his co-host Katie Halper, provide listeners with critical and insightful perspectives on various political and social topics. They often interview prominent figures within the progressive political sphere. Useful Idiots has garnered a loyal following and helps demonstrate Taibbi’s versatility in media.

Writing Life

Taibbi’s writing journey spans an extensive range of topics, mediums, and genres. He has reported on finance, media, politics, and sports. Throughout his career, he has authored several books, many of which have found critical and commercial success. Some of his popular works include:

  • The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion (2008)
  • Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America (2010)
  • The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap (2014)

These books showcase Taibbi’s ability to dissect and analyze complex subjects, shedding light on issues often overlooked by mainstream media. His writing style has been praised for its accessibility, humor, and wit.

Public Speaking and Debates

Beyond writing and podcasting, Matt Taibbi is also a sought-after public speaker and debater. He has participated in numerous panel discussions, debates, and lectures, often addressing topics related to politics, journalism, and social issues. His experience and vast knowledge in these areas make him a compelling and engaging public speaker, further solidifying his influence as a thought leader.

Related articles:

Written by Eric

37-year-old who enjoys ferret racing, binge-watching boxed sets and praying. He is exciting and entertaining, but can also be very boring and a bit grumpy.