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Matt Taibbi

Matt Taibbi
Taibbi in 2008
Born Matthew C. Taibbi
(1970-03-02) March 2, 1970
Nationality American
Occupation Journalist, political writer, columnist
Spouse(s) Jeanne
Relatives Mike Taibbi (father)

Matthew C. "Matt" Taibbi (; born March 2, 1970) is an American author and journalist. Taibbi has reported on politics, media, finance, and sports, and has authored several books, including The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap (2014), Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America (2010) and The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion (2009).


  • Personal life & early years 1
  • Career 2
    • Financial journalism 2.1
    • Sports journalism 2.2
  • Awards 3
  • Controversy 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7
    • Selected works 7.1
    • Interviews 7.2
    • Biographical works 7.3

Personal life & early years

Matt Taibbi was born in 1970 to Mike Taibbi, an NBC television reporter, and his wife. He grew up in the Boston, Massachusetts suburbs. He attended Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, and graduated in 1992[1] from Bard College located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. He spent a year abroad studying at Saint Petersburg Polytechnical University in Russia. Taibbi is atheist/agnostic.[2]


Taibbi joined Mark Ames in 1997 to co-edit the English-language Moscow-based, bi-weekly free newspaper, The eXile. It was considered controversial for its tone and content, and it was written primarily for the expatriate community in the city. In the U.S. media, Playboy magazine published pieces on Russia both by Taibbi and by Taibbi and Ames together during this time. In 2000, he published his first book, The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia. He later stated that he was addicted to heroin while he did this early writing.[3]

In 2002, he returned to the U.S. to start the satirical bi-weekly The Beast in Buffalo, New York. He left that publication, saying that "Running a business and writing is too much." Taibbi continued as a freelancer for The Nation, Playboy, New York Press (where he wrote a regular political column for more than two years), Rolling Stone, and New York Sports Express (as Editor at Large).

Taibbi left the New York Press in August 2005. It was shortly after his editor Jeff Koyen was forced out over issues raised by Taibbi's column, "The 52 Funniest Things About The Upcoming Death of The Pope".[4][5][6] "I have since learned that there would not have been an opportunity for me to stay anyway," Taibbi later wrote.[7]

Taibbi became a Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone, writing feature-length articles on domestic and international affairs. He also wrote a weekly political online column, titled "The Low Post," for the magazine's website. Taibbi writes for the print edition of Rolling Stone, and contributes to their website in his current blog, "Taibblog".[8]

Taibbi covered the 2008 presidential campaign for Real Time with Bill Maher.[9] He was invited as a guest on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show[10] and other MSNBC programs. He also has appeared on Democracy Now![11] and served as a contributor on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.[12] Taibbi is an occasional guest on the Thom Hartmann radio and TV shows. He is a regular contributor/guest on the Imus in the Morning Show' on the Fox Business network.

Financial journalism

His July 2009 Rolling Stone article "The Great American Bubble Machine" described Goldman Sachs as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money".[13][14][15] The expression "Vampire Squids" has come to represent in financial and political media the perception of the financial and investment sector as entities that "sabotage production" and "sink the economy as they suck the life out of it in the form of rent."[16]

Tackling the assistance to banks given in foreclosure courts, Taibbi traveled to Jacksonville, Florida to observe the "rocket docket." He concluded that it processed foreclosures without regard to the legality of the financial instruments being ruled upon, and speeded up the process to enable quick resale of the properties, while obscuring the fraudulent and predatory nature of the loans.[17]

Financial scandals were frequently headlines in 2012, and Taibbi's analyses of their machinations brought him invitations as an expert to discuss events on nationally broadcast television programs.[18][19] In a discussion of the Libor revelations, Taibbi's coverage [20] was singled out by Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, Inc., as most important on the topic and required reading.

In February 2014, Taibbi joined First Look Media to head a financial and political corruption-focused publication called Racket.[21] However, after management disputes with First Look's leadership delayed its launch and led to its cancellation, Taibbi returned to Rolling Stone in the following October.[22]

Sports journalism

Taibbi also wrote a column called "The Sports Blotter" for the free weekly newspaper, The Boston Phoenix, until September 2010. He covered arrests, civil suits, and criminal trials involving professional, college and at times, high school athletes.


In 2008, Taibbi was awarded the National Magazine Award in the category "Columns and Commentary" for his Rolling Stone columns.[23] He won a Sidney Award in 2009 for his article "The Great American Bubble Machine".[24]


The eXile held an annual poll inviting readers to vote on who was the worst English-language journalist in Russia. In 2001, the "winner" was the New York Times chief editor in Moscow. Taibbi gleefully described how he prepared a cream pie made with horse sperm and humiliated the journalist by throwing it at his face and photographing the encounter.[25]

In March 2005, Taibbi's satirical essay, "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope",[26] published in the New York Press, was denounced by Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Matt Drudge, Abe Foxman, and Anthony Weiner. Subsequently, the editor who approved the column was fired.[27] Taibbi defended the piece as "off-the-cuff burlesque of truly tasteless jokes," written to give his readers a break from a long run of his "fulminating political essays." Taibbi also said he was surprised at the vehement reactions to what he wrote "in the waning hours of a Vicodin haze".[28]

Journalist James Verini, while interviewing Taibbi in a Manhattan restaurant for Vanity Fair, said Taibbi cursed and threw a coffee at him, then accosted him as he tried to get away, all in response to Verini's volunteered opinion that Taibbi's book, The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia, was "redundant and discursive".[29] The interview took place in 2010, and Taibbi later described the incident as "an aberration from how I've behaved in the last six or seven years".[30]

After the death of conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart, in March 2012, Taibbi wrote an obituary in Rolling Stone, titled "Andrew Breitbart: Death of a Douche."[31] Many conservatives were angered by the obituary, though Taibbi claimed that it was "at least half an homage," claiming respect for aspects of Breitbart's style but also alluding to Breitbart's own openly derisive obituary of Ted Kennedy.


  • The Exile: Sex, Drugs, and Libel in the New Russia (ISBN 0-8021-3652-4). Co-authored with Mark Ames, and published in 2000 with a foreword by Eduard Limonov. A movie based on the book is under development by producers Ted Hope and James Schamus of Good Machine.[32]
  • Spanking the Donkey: On the Campaign Trail with the Democrats, (ISBN 1-56584-891-8). A campaign diary from the 2004 US presidential election, published by New Press in 2005.
  • Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season, (ISBN 978-0307345714). Published by Three Rivers Press (August 22, 2006).
  • Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire, (ISBN 0-8021-7041-2). Published by Grove Press, Black Cat in 2007.
  • The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics & Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire, (ISBN 0-385-52034-4). Published by Spiegel & Grau in 2008.


  1. ^ Stavru, William (12 November 2012). "Interview: Matt Taibbi '92". Bard College. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  2. ^ 'Interview with Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi',, 29 April 2008 (accessed 10 May 2008).
  3. ^ Lost Exile. Vanity Fair
  4. ^ [3] Buffalo Beast reprint of original NYPress article
  5. ^ Jeff Koyen's Exit Interview
  6. ^ [4] Archived April 14, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Taibbi, Matt (2005-08-24). "New York Press - MATT TAIBBI - End of the Road". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  8. ^ Matt Taibbi: Rolling Stone
  9. ^ "Real Time: Matt Taibbi follows the Clinton campaign in Youngstown, Ohio"
  10. ^ "The Rachel Maddow Show Guest List: Week of March 30, 2009". Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  11. ^ ""Worst Congress Ever: Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi on How Our National Legislature Has Become a "Stable of Thieves and Perverts""". 2006-10-27. 
  12. ^ Stelter, Brian (20 June 2011). "At New Network, Olbermann Sets Sights on MSNBC". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  13. ^ "Matt Taibbi". Investopedia. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Salmon, Felix (2011). "Giant Sucking Sound". Book Forum. 
  15. ^ Taibbi, Matt (July 13, 2009). "The Great American Bubble Machine".  
  16. ^ L. Randall Wray, "Growing recognition of the need for the Job Guarantee", EconoMonitor, 16 January 2014
  17. ^ Taibbi, Matt, "Invasion of the Home Snatchers", Rolling Stone, 10 November 2010
  18. ^ June 22, 2012 Bill Moyers Show
  19. ^ July 4, 2012 Viewpoint with Elliot Sputzer
  20. ^ Taibbi, Matt, Why is Nobody Freaking Out About the LIBOR Scandal?, Rolling Stone, 3 July 2012
  21. ^ Somaiya, Ravi (2014-02-19). "Start-Up Site Hires Critic of Wall St.".  
  22. ^ McCarthy, Tom (31 October 2014). "Matt Taibbi returning to Rolling Stone after split from First Look Media". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  23. ^ "Magazine Publishers of America, NMA Winners". 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  24. ^ "Matt Taibbi, Hillman Foundation". Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  25. ^ Matt Taibbi (April 5, 2001). "Feature: New York Times Hack Eats Horse Sperm Pie".  
  26. ^ "The 52 Funniest Things About The Upcoming Death of The Pope". Retrieved 2015-10-08. 
  27. ^ "New York Press Editor Quits Over Article". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  28. ^ "Keep Pope Alive", March 16, 2005, New York Press. Retrieved Mar 29, 2010.
  29. ^ Verini, James (2010-02-23). "Lost Exile | Culture". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  30. ^ "The Father of the Squid | The New York Observer". 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  31. ^ "Andrew Breitbart: Death of a Douche". Retrieved 2015-08-26. 
  32. ^ "Search at". Retrieved 2011-03-31. 

External links

  • magazineRolling StoneMatt Taibbi's blog at
  • showThe Young TurksMatt Taibbi on
  • Matt Taibbi's Blog at The Smirking Chimp
  • Matt Taibbi's (now defunct) blog at True/Slant
  • Matt Taibbi at the Internet Movie Database
  • Appearances on C-SPAN

Selected works

  • "The Low Post" articlesRolling StoneArchive of
  • The NationArchive of Taibbi's articles in
  • Archive of Taibbi's AlterNet articles
  • "Wall Street's Naked Swindle"
  • "The Truth About the Tea Party"
  • "The Great American Bubble Machine: How Goldman-Sachs Blew up the Economy"
  • "Invasion of the Home Snatchers"


  • "Looting Main Street" video by Democracy Now!, April 12, 2010
  • 23 April 2011, 25 April 2010, 9 July 2009, 14 April 2005 interviews on Behind the News with Doug Henwood
  • Matt Taibbi: "Why Isn’t Wall Street in Jail?" (Complete Interview) on Democracy Now!, February 22, 2011
  • Covering Up Wall Street Crimes: Matt Taibbi Exposes How SEC Shredded Thousands of Investigations on Democracy Now!, August 23, 2011
  • "Too Crooked to Fail": Matt Taibbi Says Bailouts, Fraud are the Secrets to Bank of America’s Success on Democracy Now!, March 22, 2012
  • Matt Taibbi on the Explosive Resignation of Goldman Sachs Executive Greg Smith on Democracy Now!, March 22, 2012
  • Matt Taibbi: Libor Rate-Fixing Scandal "Biggest Insider Trading You Could Ever Imagine" on Democracy Now!, July 19, 2012
  • Matt Taibbi Explains Wall Street’s "License to Steal," Offshore Tax Havens and Private Equity Firms on Democracy Now!, July 30, 2012
  • Matt Taibbi: The Secret to Mitt Romney’s Fortune? Greed, Debt and Forcing Others to Foot the Bill on Democracy Now!, August 30, 2012
  • Matt Taibbi: After Laundering $800 Million in Drug Money, How Did HSBC Executives Avoid Jail? on Democracy Now!, December 13, 2013
  • Matt Taibbi on the Unfolding Libor Scandal and What Sen. DeMint’s Departure Means for Fractured GOP on Democracy Now!, December 13, 2012
  • Matt Taibbi & William Black on Bailout Secrets & How New Foreclosure Deal Spares Banks from Justice on Democracy Now!, January 11, 2013
  • Matt Taibbi: U.S. Student Loan Bubble Saddles a Generation With Debt and Threatens the Economy on Democracy Now!, August 20, 2013
  • Matt Taibbi on How Wall Street Hedge Funds Are Looting the Pension Funds of Public Workers on Democracy Now!, September 26, 2013
  • Matt Tiabbi, author of Divide: American Injustice and the Age of the Wealth Gap. Interview with Mitch Jeserich on KPFA, April 14, 2014
  • Who Goes To Jail? Matt Taibbi on American Injustice Gap From Wall Street to Main Street on Democracy Now!, April 15, 2014
  • Matt Taibbi and Bank Whistleblower on How JPMorgan Chase Helped Wreck the Economy, Avoid Prosecution on ''Democracy Now!, November 7, 2014
  • Matt Taibbi: World’s Largest Banks Admit to Massive Global Financial Crimes, But Escape Jail (Again) on Democracy Now!, May 21, 2015
  • Matt Taibbi on Baltimore, Freddie Gray and How Legal System Covers Up Police Violence on Democracy Now!, May 21, 2015
  • Eric Holder Returns to Wall Street-Tied Law Firm After Years of Refusing to Jail Bankers on Democracy Now!, July 8, 2015

Biographical works

  • The New York Daily NewsLloyd Grove column featuring denouncements,
  • , a publication of the New York University school of journalismBullpenBackground: Matt Taibbi in
  • The Washington Post: Political Reporter Matt Taibbi Surrounds Capitol Hill With Barbed Ire", Rolling Stone"Fed Time for Gonzo at
  • Vanity Fair, Russia's angriest newspaper", The Exile"Lost Exile: The unlikely life and sudden death of
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