NY Times Hails New Job for Matt Taibbi: No Leftist Label or Mention of Mockery of Dying Pope John Paul

The New York Times defined it as newsworthy that Rolling Stone's hard-left fancifier-fulminator Matt Taibbi is taking a new job with Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media. The headline was bland: "Start-Up Site Hires Critic of Wall St." The Times had no ideological label except "fierce critic of Wall Street." That's probably about the label Karl Marx would get if he wrote today.

The account was short enough to somehow exclude Taibbi's infamous 2005 article on "52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope." The Times account waited until the end to quote typically rabid or possibly drug-fueled Taibbi passages, puffing it as "vivid writing and colorful language" in a "now-famous metaphor" (which a quick Nexis search demonstrates The New York Times has now quoted 24 times):

Mr. Taibbi is noted for capturing the spirit of the aftermath of the financial crisis with a series of articles in Rolling Stone that examined the misbehavior of Wall Street executives and the risky lending practices that led to a near collapse of the global economy.He used vivid writing and colorful language to describe the root causes of the crisis, including the now-famous metaphor he used to describe Goldman Sachs, calling the bank “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

In a 2008 chat at washingtonpost.com, Taibbi expressed no shame or regret whatsoever for his offenses:

Bristow, Va.: Matt, you’re being a little shy about your connections between religion and wishing people’s deaths. After all, you wrote“52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope,” including your vision of John Paul II sitting up and bursting into flames. Are you really qualified to judge others as mmm, “offbeat”?

Matt Taibbi: Sorry about that, got a phone call from Erica Jong. You’re expecting me to have shame? I work in the media.

And right after that:

Leesburg, Va.: Your focus on the left-wing tilt of Sept. 11 truthers (and they do go both ways) is just your phony way of trying to look “fair and balanced” which is quite ridiculous considering your general tone of Rage Against the Machine juvenilia. As if Rolling Stone were the International Herald Tribune and not a magazine for old stoners. What do you think about that?

Matt Taibbi: You’re absolutely right. I was saying just that to your mother last night when I was shaving her back.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis