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 (/tˈbi/; 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 and early years

Matt Taibbi was born in 1970 to Mike Taibbi, an NBC television reporter, and his wife. According to Matt, his surname Taibbi is a Sicilian name of Lebanese/Arabic origin, but his father, who is partly of Filipino-Hawaiian descent,[1] was adopted as a child by a Sicilian-American couple who possessed the surname.[2] He grew up in the Boston, Massachusetts suburbs. He attended Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, and graduated in 1992[3] 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.[4]


Taibbi joined Mark Ames in 1997 to co-edit the English-language Moscow-based, bi-weekly free newspaper, The eXile, which was written primarily for the city's expatriate community. The eXile's tone and content were highly controversial. To some, its commentary was brutally honest and gleefully tasteless; others considered it juvenile, misogynistic, and even cruel.[5] [6][7] 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, Taibbi 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.[8]

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".[9][10][11] "I have since learned that there would not have been an opportunity for me to stay anyway," Taibbi later wrote.[12]

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.[13]

Taibbi covered the 2008 presidential campaign for Real Time with Bill Maher.[14] He was invited as a guest on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show[15] and other MSNBC programs. He also has appeared on Democracy Now![16] and Chapo Trap House,[17] and served as a contributor on Countdown with Keith Olbermann.[18] 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".[19][20][21] 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."[22]

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.[23]

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.[24][25] In a discussion of the Libor revelations, Taibbi's coverage [26] 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.[27] However, after management disputes with First Look's leadership delayed its launch and led to its cancellation, Taibbi returned to Rolling Stone the following October.[28]

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.[29] He won a Sidney Award in 2009 for his article "The Great American Bubble Machine".[30]


In March 2005, Taibbi's satirical essay, "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope",[31] 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.[32] 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".[33]

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".[34] 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".[35]

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."[36] 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.



  1. Mike Taibbi (January 20, 2009). "Obama's story inspires search for roots". NBC. Retrieved 2016-04-02.
  2. Stavru, William (12 November 2012). "Interview: Matt Taibbi '92". Bard College. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  3. 'Interview with Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi',, 29 April 2008 (accessed 10 May 2008).
  4. Rolling Stone Magazine, issue 800, November 26th 1998.
  5. Jack Hamann (1999-09-23). "The Russia Factor" (Reprint). CNN Perspectives. (see also Hamann's site)
  6. Martha Bayne (July 13, 2000). "Beast in the East: In Moscow's Exile, hard news jumps in bed with misogyny and mayhem". The Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  7. Lost Exile. Vanity Fair
  8. Buffalo Beast reprint of original NYPress article
  9. Jeff Koyen's Exit Interview
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 14, 2006. Retrieved November 11, 2005.
  11. Taibbi, Matt (2005-08-24). "New York Press - MATT TAIBBI - End of the Road". Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  12. Matt Taibbi: Rolling Stone Archived December 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. "Real Time: Matt Taibbi follows the Clinton campaign in Youngstown, Ohio"
  14. "The Rachel Maddow Show Guest List: Week of March 30, 2009". Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  15. ""Worst Congress Ever: Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi on How Our National Legislature Has Become a "Stable of Thieves and Perverts""". 2006-10-27.
  16. ""Episode 11 - Cranking the Donkey feat. Matt Taibbi "". 2016-05-22.
  17. Stelter, Brian (20 June 2011). "At New Network, Olbermann Sets Sights on MSNBC". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  18. "Matt Taibbi". Investopedia. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  19. Salmon, Felix (2011). "Giant Sucking Sound". Book Forum.
  20. Taibbi, Matt (July 13, 2009). "The Great American Bubble Machine". Rolling Stone (1082–1083).
  21. L. Randall Wray, "Growing recognition of the need for the Job Guarantee", EconoMonitor, 16 January 2014
  22. Taibbi, Matt, "Invasion of the Home Snatchers", Rolling Stone, 10 November 2010
  23. June 22, 2012 Bill Moyers Show
  24. July 4, 2012 Viewpoint with Elliot Sputzer
  25. Taibbi, Matt, Why is Nobody Freaking Out About the LIBOR Scandal?, Rolling Stone, 3 July 2012
  26. Somaiya, Ravi (2014-02-19). "Start-Up Site Hires Critic of Wall St.". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  27. McCarthy, Tom (31 October 2014). "Matt Taibbi returning to Rolling Stone after split from First Look Media". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  28. "Magazine Publishers of America, NMA Winners". 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  29. "Matt Taibbi, Hillman Foundation". Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  30. "The 52 Funniest Things About The Upcoming Death of The Pope". Retrieved 2015-10-08.
  31. "New York Press Editor Quits Over Article". The New York Times. 8 March 2015.
  32. "Keep Pope Alive", March 16, 2005, New York Press. Retrieved Mar 29, 2010.
  33. Verini, James (2010-02-23). "Lost Exile | Culture". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  34. "The Father of the Squid | The New York Observer". 2010-10-19. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  35. "Andrew Breitbart: Death of a Douche". Retrieved 2015-08-26.
  36. "Search at". Retrieved 2011-03-31.

Selected works


Biographical works

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