Matt Taibbi Criticizes David Gregory during HuffPost Live Interview: “I Don’t Know How He Can Call Himself A Journalist”


During an interview with Alyona Minkovski yesterday, Matt Taibbi called out David Gregory while lamenting the media’s treatment of Glenn Greenwald.

Former Rolling Stone Contributing Editor Matt Taibbi has left the magazine to join Pierre Omidyar’s start-up, First Look Media (FLM). He will be joining Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill who write for FLM’s new digital magazine The Intercept. Taibbi spoke at length with Minkovski. He talked about why he’s leaving Rolling Stone, journalism today, Wall Street, and his new venture in journalism. Click here to watch the entire interview.

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12 Responses to Matt Taibbi Criticizes David Gregory during HuffPost Live Interview: “I Don’t Know How He Can Call Himself A Journalist”

  1. Little Bigshoe says:

    It’s rough being a real to goodness journalist…. Rather than bought and paid for hack….

  2. bigfatmike says:

    It is hard out there for a journalist trying to make some money and pay the rent.

  3. michael beaton says:

    I agree w Matt.. Gregory is a horrible journalist. I have thought this from before he somehow got the Russert gig… something that is still inexplicable to me. Though… I suppose if we were privy to the backroom stuff might come clear.
    Maybe something like the pol’s saying ‘… hey no more of this rough stuff (if you accept the mythos that Russert was a bull truth seeker) … find some milk toast to do this job…’ That’s a scenario that would square the circle.

    Matt T. lays out what the job of the journalist is. It is not the job that most of the national press, or the local press for that matter, is doing. Certainly not Gregory.

    Looking fwd to how this endeavor w GG and other manifests. Getting Matt T on the team is a positive move.
    Later it will fall to us (me) who want and desire this level of journalism to find ways to support and participate with it in a way that helps it succeed. Not only in a market sense, but as an institution that speaks “truth to power”.
    It looks like the forces are gathering for a showdown at the OK corral…

  4. Mike Spindell says:

    I disliked Tim Russert intensely until Gregory took over. He’s made Russert seem like H.L. Mencken.

  5. pdm says:

    Michael B, thanks for mentioning the Russert myth. And double that on Luke! But I worry about all good serious journalists winding up under one roof. I think there may be some wisdom in spreading good journalism across many different publications located in different regions otherwise you risk always preaching to only the choir while what is needed is a bigger congregation.

    • michael beaton says:

      @pdm… re “luke”… funny, I think I heard him once on maddow… instantly dismissed him as profoundly worthy of being forever dismissed.
      His value is to prove any point you might wish to make about nepotism, and any other about the denigration of all things serious and important when it comes to our 4th estate. A function he and Gregory perform well.

      As for your point about collecting good journalism in one place et al…
      That is an interesting and debatable point. And I don’t have a strong yes/no idea about it. But my first take on reading yours was to think that there needed to be a critical mass first, a fission center if you will, from which, when there is enough power that it will explode/expand into other publications … or maybe spawn a whole new set of publications and outlets….

      An interesting thing to ponder. One worthy of some historical exampling.

      For example I think it is worth noting that this group of journalists was incubated in some significant way by Amy Goodman and Democracy Now (which continues to do yeoman work in this field). Esp Scahill, who started there as an intern… Greenwald has gotten much of his early exposure on that show..

      Let us ponder the state of journalism, and what needs to happen next…
      And … if we care to think a bit larger… think about how this board might incubate and develop some ideas and forms that might become part of that larger useful and meaningful conversation.

      That is how I am approaching this conversation anyway…

  6. pdm says:

    Michael B. Critical mass is very useful for the newbies – but not so much for the well established.
    Then consider….with the Snowden story breaking, many Americans must have discovered The Guardian. With him gone how many will continue to visit? That’s a loss. And wouldn’t it be great if AlJezerra snagged a well-known Taibbi type? If everybody gets into one space (and they all start to compete for the same story) and the billionaire who pays the bills gets bored and wants to move on, what happens? I also have to wonder about all those egos. Will they begin to eat each other? And somehow, I like the sound of 10 papers winning a Pulitzer better than one paper winning 10. And with all the terrible stuff that is going on in the state legislatures, it’s critical that local papers survive. There is a better chance of that if those papers have a star.

  7. Tony C. says:

    PDM: I see no reason for the billionaire to get bored, or if he does, why it would matter. There are a few points I will make.

    1) From what I can tell, this is for Pierre Omidyar not necessarily a money-making venture, but a venture of principle. Billionaires (like Soros) typically make their money on ventures that cost in the neighborhood of 10% of their net worth; not on 1% (or less) startups. As the disclosed financial records of Mitt Romney should demonstrate (despite his being a sub-billionaire) it isn’t that difficult for the wealthy to earn 10% to 15% on their money, relatively safely, the investments open to them are not really open to the average person, because there are multi-million dollar table minimums in some of their actual money-making ventures. For Omidyar, worth $8.5B, his income is likely in the range of $1B a year.

    It may have all the trappings of a full-blown entrepreneurial enterprise, but …. what’s the cost, really? The Intercept lists a dozen staff that might cost $3M. Even at $10M a year, Omidyar is not even breaking a sweat, ever, he probably earns a hundred times that. Omidyar is in the position of never having to worry about “having enough money” ever again.

    2) I think what he has decided to do with it is shield something he believes in. He can field an army of lawyers if need be, and (like many of us) believes the country must be fixed. I think I speak for many of us when I say that if I were set for a hundred lifetimes, and I thought 10% of just my new income could have an impact on the direction of the country, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on such a venture of principle.

    3) Like most ventures I might personally consider, I imagine Omidyar has some milestones he expects The Intercept to achieve. Not necessarily to be profitable, but to be self-sustaining or “worth it” in some sense or another. He isn’t funding a retirement home, and the journalists being hired have been kicking ass for years; I imagine Omidyar is betting that, with funding (not necessarily for giant salaries but much better travel, logistic, and legal budgets) he can make an impact. He already has other successful media ventures under his belt.

    4) This is just my opinion. But I believe this sort of raised-in-the-middle-class wealthy can be good allies against fascism and plutocracy. Omidyar was a wage slave into adulthood, he began writing the code that would become eBay at the age of 28, in his spare time while working at a full-time job. Unlike the born wealthy, Omidyar has first hand, adult experience with working for a living for somebody else, being frustrated and voiceless, etc. He can empathize. Of course the middle class is a diverse group, but at least some of these people that become unexpectedly filthy rich as adults will have been liberals that see the necessity of a strong safety net and free populace, fans of Greenwald and Taibbi, and opponents of corruption and privilege.

    By not being raised in the castle and immersed in the attitude and fears of the common folk, they tend to continue to see the rich from the outside, despite having become one of them. I was raised in the lower middle class. I am not there anymore, but inside I still feel the anger and urge to say, “Fuck you” every time I hear somebody that has never been there opine on “what their problem is.”

    I don’t know how Omidyar feels about it, but he’s been a billionaire for less than 20 years, I do not think his former life in the middle class is all that distant in his mind. I think we are lucky to have him on our side, and I doubt we have to worry that the principles and beliefs he grew up with will be dissipated any time soon.

    • michael beaton says:

      @Tony I think your points are good and well stated. Now lets see them work out. I hope they do along the lines you present. I suspect they will. Or, we might find this is a first step in even a larger plan.
      One thing that is so interesting is the nature of power in these days. I think we have to know it better than we do now. And we have to understand its relationship to money in a way I think is deeper than we, who have little or none, don’t quite understand. It truly is a different world and way of being.
      You address one side of it, “not being raised in the castle”. The other side is those who have been…There is a point where money is no longer something that is needed, but something that you have…And what you have is something more than simple money.

      I suspect there are subtle reasons why the republicans’ icon is an elephant.

  8. Tony C. says:

    Also, I think it could be an advantage if all the government-attack stars are in one place and behind a multi-billion dollar wall of protection. In principle no journalist should be attacked, but as screwed up as our government is, they are starting to afford “freedom of speech” only to the big news organizations. Well, Omidyar can fix that, by just becoming one of those untouchables. Heck, if need be he can buy one of the untouchables, or the networks.

    We may see even better out of Taibbi and Greenwald if they have an army of attorneys to protect them, and won’t be thrown under the bus because their publisher is weak or cannot afford to protect them.

  9. pdm says:

    Tony, of course you may be right about Omidyar not tiring. But it seems to me that so many of those that made huge fortunes in Silicon Valley have been corrupted and moved to the dark side. Google and do no evil? Absolute evil. Amazon? Their warehouses are slave labor camps – not to mention what they have done to bookstores. Facebook? Owner of the universe and seller of your privacy. It’s a rapacious crowd.

    Any thoughts on my other concerns regarding the aggregation of all the talent?

  10. Tony C. says:

    PDM: Sorry for the late reply.

    PDM says: If everybody gets into one space (and they all start to compete for the same story) […] what happens?

    What happens if they are in different spaces? They write different stories by their nature, some people like one, some people like another. Why not let that happen in one place? Even if they do not collaborate, instead of competing with each other they attract a larger audience and financially help each other; it is a partnership. In fact they may attract a larger audience. And there is nothing dishonorable in saying “I am working on story X,” so if other authors are looking at a few stories they are interested in, they might avoid X, and see if their take is different than the first authors. Or say “Yeah, me too,” so the opposite can happen, or they know they are both publishing on the same thing and should emphasize the POV that makes them different from each other.

    PDM says: I also have to wonder about all those egos. Will they begin to eat each other?

    Maybe, if they are dumb enough and selfish enough to not care about failure. And as the Mythbusters say, failure is always an option. But this is their living now, these people are still working for a paycheck, and/or want this forum to succeed and be their podium. I think the problem of cannibalism is not a major concern.

    PDM says: And somehow, I like the sound of 10 papers winning a Pulitzer better than one paper winning 10. And with all the terrible stuff that is going on in the state legislatures, it’s critical that local papers survive. There is a better chance of that if those papers have a star.

    We disagree on that point. Local papers are doomed in my opinion anyway, they are bound to be replaced by Internet outlets and maybe TV outlets. That isn’t for the better, IMO, but I think it is the reality to deal with.

    I think content is king, and more stars make for a steadier stream of high quality content.

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