In my opinion, Matt Taibbi has been one of the most compelling and informative journalists on the politics and culture beat for the better part of a decade. Taibbi sat down with The New Yorker magazine to talk about his new digital magazine, putting the personal touch in reporting and the public’s lack of confidence in mainstream media. It’s a rather short piece, but if you’re a Taibbi fan like me then you’ll probably enjoy it. Here’s a snippet.
…none of Taibbi’s anger at the “toothlessness” of the media has dissipated. “I think it’s a lost art in this country—developing that narrative voice where readers connect with you as a human being,” he says, harpooning a stray piece of scrambled egg. “They want to see how you react individually to things. And if you think something is outrageous, and you write about it in a tone without outrage, then that’s just deception, you know?”
Taibbi says his decision to leave Rolling Stone was predicated in part on the need to make a change and “keep from falling into a pattern,” and partly by his desire to “be on Glenn’s side.” Glenn being Glenn Greenwald, who, along with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, is currently editing another First Look property, the national-security-centric The Intercept, which has been live since February. “Glenn’s in this position of being a reporter trying to put out material that came from a whistle-blower, and now they’re both essentially in exile. It’s crazy. If the press corps that existed in the ’60s and ’70s had seen this situation, they’d be rising as one and denouncing the government for it,” Taibbi says.
Like former Washington Post scribe Ezra Klein, who recently moved to a new venture at Vox Media, Taibbi sees hope in the foundational, start-up mode of journalism. “You’ve got this widespread mistrust of media organizations,” he says, “and the feeling, from people on both sides, that the networks are in the tank for one political party or another. I think people are more willing to trust individuals than they are organizations.”