Matthew C. Taibbi (born 2 March 1970) is an American author, journalist, and podcaster. He has reported on finance, media, politics, and sports. He is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, author of several books, co-host of Useful Idiots, and publisher of a newsletter on Substack.
- By August I was coming to terms with the reality of being alone in nature, essentially left to fend for myself against the horrible things in life. A year later, believing that no life strategy was inherently safer than any other, I'd moved to Russia and then Uzbekistan, where I drank water out of the tap and quickly learned to thrive in the philosophy of Being Fucked.
- "Combed Over!!!", Exile.ru (August 10, 2001)
- Most of us are aware and despairing on some level that our lives have become de-eroticized, that love and romance are not all around us but have to be hunted for with the kind of desperation that people used to bring when they went west looking for gold. But the answers that society gives us for this sexual desert are Viagra and Cialis and Levitra, products that allow us to stay hard for hours as we hump the indifferent mannequins we run into in bars. The country is lonely, self-obsessed and the individual members of the population are offered a thousand ways to improve their individual appearance and vigor. But there seems to be no solution on the horizon that anyone is offering to bring us more together, to give us the things we really need — love and acceptance and community.
We blame corporate America for this state of affairs because this ideology of individual acquisitiveness is the religion it naturally preaches. But it's our failure to come up with a competing ideology of getting along that's the real problem.
- Bush is our fault. He's our fault because too many of us found it easier to hate him than find a way to love each other. If we work on the second thing a little harder, we won't need to rely on the cynics in the DLC to come up with the right "formula" the next time around. Because happiness and hope have a way of selling themselves.
- "Finding Love in Electoral Politics", AlterNet (November 13, 2004)
- The marriage of David Brooks and the Democratic Leadership Council makes perfect sense. It's repugnant and the kind of thing one should shield young children from knowing about, but it makes perfect sense. Both prefer a policy of being "cautious soldiers," "incrementalists" who shun upheavals and vote the status quo, although they subscribe to this policy for different reasons. Brooks worships the status quo because he has no penis and wants to spend the rest of his life buying periwinkle bath towels without troubling interruptions of conscience. The DLC, a nonprofit created in the mid-1980s to help big business have a say in the Democratic Party platform, supports the status quo because they are paid agents of the commercial interests that define it. Moreover, Brooks and the DLC have this in common: While they both frown on the open flag-waving and ostentatious religiosity of the talk-radio right-wing as being gauche and in bad form, they're only truly offended by people of their own background who happen to be idealistic. Hence the recurring backlash by both against the various angry electoral challenges to the establishment of the Democratic Party.
- This is the archetypal suburban-conservative nightmare — anonymous hordes of leftist boat-rockers viciously assaulting the champion of the decent people, who is just a really nice guy given to tending his lawn and minding his own business. Being "nice" is a central part of the Brooks yuppie's guilt-proofing self-image rationale; so long as you're the kind of guy who lets people merge on highways, stands politely in line at Starbucks, doesn't put garish Christmas decorations on his lawn and pays his taxes, you're not really doing anything wrong. It gets a little tiring after a while, hearing people who vote for wars tell you how nice they are.
- "David Brooks and the DLC: Best Friends Forever?", AlterNet (August 3, 2006)
- I've never thought much of Joe Biden. But man, did he get it right in last night's debate, and not just because he walloped sniveling little Paul Ryan on the facts. What he got absolutely right, despite what you might read this morning (many outlets are criticizing Biden's dramatic excesses), was his tone. Biden did absolutely roll his eyes, snort, laugh derisively and throw his hands up in the air whenever Ryan trotted out his little beady-eyed BS-isms.
But he should have! He was absolutely right to be doing it. We all should be doing it. That includes all of us in the media, and not just paid obnoxious-opinion-merchants like me, but so-called "objective" news reporters as well. We should all be rolling our eyes, and scoffing and saying, "Come back when you're serious."
- Good! Fuck him. I couldn’t be happier that he’s dead.
- On the death of Andrew Breitbart: "Andrew Breitbart: Death of a Douche," Rolling Stone (March 1 2012)
- What we call right-wing and liberal media in this country are really just two different strategies of the same kind of nihilistic lizard-brain sensationalism.
- "America Is Too Dumb for TV News", Rolling Stone (November 25, 2015))
- Voters for decades were conned into thinking they were noisome minorities whose best path to influence is to make peace with the mightier "center," which inevitably turns out to support military interventionism, fewer taxes for the rich, corporate deregulation and a ban on unrealistic "giveaway" proposals like free higher education. Those are the realistic, moderate, popular ideas, we're told.
But it's a Wizard of Oz trick, just like American politics in general. There is no numerically massive center behind the curtain. What there is instead is a tiny island of wealthy donors, surrounded by a protective ring of for-sale major-party politicians (read: employees) whose job it is to castigate too-demanding voters and preach realism.
- "Goodbye, and Good Riddance, to Centrism" Rolling Stone (June 13, 2017)
- So we’re withdrawing troops from the Middle East. GOOD! What’s the War on Terror death count by now, a half-million? How much have we spent, $5 trillion? Five-and-a-half? For that cost, we’ve destabilized the region to the point of abject chaos, inspired millions of Muslims to hate us, and torn up the Geneva Convention and half the Constitution in pursuit of policies like torture, kidnapping, assassination-by-robot and warrantless detention.
- It will be difficult for each of us to even begin to part with our share of honor in those achievements. This must be why all those talking heads on TV are going crazy. Unless Donald Trump decides to reverse his decision to begin withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan, cable news for the next few weeks is going to be one long Scanners marathon of exploding heads.
- "We Know How Trump’s War Game Ends, Nothing unites our political class like the threat of ending our never-ending war" Rolling Stone (December 22, 2018)
- I've been very consistent over the years in saying the same things. I feel pretty strongly that the only thing that's changed is that the New York media world once agreed with the things I was saying, and now they don't.
- Ross Barkan. "What Happened to Matt Taibbi?", New York (October 29, 2021).
- The real problem Trump represented for elite America had less to do with his political beliefs than the unapproved manner of his rise.
- Matt Taibbi. "Will Twitter Become an Ocean of Suck?", taibbi.substack.com (November 30, 2021).
- After the [British Medical Journal] episode, a "Missing context" flag should be understood for what it is: an intellectual warning label for true but politically troublesome information.
- "The British Medical Journal Story That Exposed Politicized 'Fact-Checking'" (archived), taibbi.substack.com (February 1, 2022).