Apparently just about anyone can get a piece run in a national magazine without a hint of ethical consideration. Matt Taibbi is the poster boy for the ethical lapse in today’s Party-run media. He wrote a hit piece for Rolling Stone(ers) magazine and the number of ethical breaches involved in its substance are staggering. Not only is the piece a stolen relic from another writer five years ago, it is also a contrived work of fiction that is being sold as factual. Taibbi, who one presumes has never even met the person he smears, manages to build a caricature of a human being, insult most Americans with his bigotry and hate, and thoroughly blemish his entire journalistic trade. This piece will dissect Taibbi’s woeful lack of morals and taste and show how people like him are enabled by the complete abandonment of journalistic standards on the Left and philosophical honesty.
Michele Bachmann is the United States congressional representative for the Minnesota Sixth District. She is a fireball and a rock-solid conservative who has been a vocal advocate for the Tea Party movement. Bachmann has traditional values and believes in limited federal government and accountability to the people of this nation. She sincerely wants to see our government become a partner and ally of the American people and not their master. Bachmann believes in God and is a devout Christian. This is the kind of person that makes the Left go, in the words of Taibbi, “batshit.”
Matt Taibbi decided that this kind of person, sincere, strident, and hopeful, must be destroyed. Bachmann represents everything he despises. She’s happy and vibrant. She’s encouraging and loyal. She believes there are right and wrong ways to govern and good and evil in the world. For this, she must be destroyed. Let’s read a bit of Taibbi’s characterization of Bachmann in his piece, “Michele Bachmann’s Holy War.” Rolling Stone magazine
“Bachmann is a religious zealot whose brain is a raging electrical storm of divine visions and paranoid delusions. She believes that the Chinese are plotting to replace the dollar bill, that light bulbs are killing our dogs and cats, and that God personally chose her to become both an IRS attorney who would spend years hounding taxpayers and a raging anti-tax Tea Party crusader against big government.”
Now, I could understand this kind of name calling and vitriol if Bachmann was his neighbor down the street that accused him of poisoning her geraniums and used a dowsing rod to find her cat. I could understand if she’d personally attacked his mother with a rolling pin. What I can’t understand is this kind of vicious, personal smearing of the very fiber of her being. Not only is she crazy, but she’s delusional and leading a Children’s Crusade to Peoria, IL. This is his first ethical lapse. Journalists are supposed to build a case about a subject. They aren’t supposed to vent their fury with bizarre personal attacks without evidence. This is at the very beginning of his diatribe, before he presented a single incidence of her supposed zealotry. He recognized her as a Christian conservative who believes the popular movement of common Americans is an important civic good. For that, she must be pummeled.
Anyone can smear another person with a few preconceived bigoted notions. A journalist has a responsibility to bring light to the facts without the overwhelming heat of prejudice. Even a farm boy dunce like me can insult another human being without really saying a single thing. I’ll make sure I’m as respectful and careful with the facts as Taibbi was.
Taibbi is a ludicrous dumb jock who managed to have a failed basketball career in three foreign countries, countries that don’t even care about basketball. This is tantamount being a failed Russian bandy player in America. [An obscure sport that only Russians have really perfected]. Taibbi has the kind of stupid former athlete look about him that suggests subpar intelligence and selfish cunning. His lupine features and hooded eyes suggest Taibbi would believe letting a date eat dinner before slipping her a Ruffie was a touch of class. His inability to hold onto a reporter job and reliance on far left appearances on Rachel Maddow and Air America show his oafishness and guile that are only really appropriate at Teamster beatings and SEIU organizing rallies. Taibbi shows himself to be a man without an original thought in his head or the ability to organize a coherent argument so he just steals them relying on his father’s position as a NBC reporter to keep him employed, somewhere, anywhere.
See. That wasn’t so hard but it really doesn’t say a damn thing about Matt Taibbi. I simply reviewed his Wikipedia page, organized some simple facts, threw in a bunch of insulting insinuations and nasty adjectives and voila. I’ve now created a caricature we can call a “Matt Taibbi.” Now I can just make up whatever I want to about this fictional creature that happens to have the same biographical information as the real one. For example, how many Matt Taibbis does it take to tap at a typewriter before we get a cogent thought? Obviously an infinite number.
So, this is Taibbi’s first journalistic ethical breach. He decided to create a caricature of the human being with a life, a family, a history, friends, colleagues, and dreams, instead of presenting a reasonable case against her. He just strung together some repulsive ideas to stimulate his progressive/socialist allies.
Taibbi’s second ethical lapse occurs in the substance of his piece. Instead of researching Michele Bachmann to find out what she’s like or dilemmas she’s faced, he just steals a ready-made story. Minnesota has a local weekly tabloid called, “City Pages.” It has the same kind of journalistic ethics as Taibbi, the New York Times’ Jayson Blair, Palin paper dumpster diver Michael Isikoff of NBC, or paper forger Dan Rather. But, the one thing they do try to do is write their own stories.
In 2006, a smear merchant by the name of G.R. Anderson wrote a twisted, slanted hit piece about Michele Bachmann entitled, “The Chosen One.” If you read Anderson’s rant against Bachmann and Taibbi’s rant against Bachmann in succession, you’ll see not just similarities, but the blatant plagiarism of Taibbi. “The Chosen One” is a piece about a woman who is a whacked out Christian who thinks God’s speaking to her. “Michele Bachmann’s Holy War” is a piece about a woman who is a whacked out Christian who thinks God is speaking to her. They are literally the same theme. Taibbi even lifted Anderson’s quotes verbatim and put them in his article without accreditation.
Even the titles of the pieces are simply variations on Anderson’s theme. “The Chosen One” suggests someone who believes they were chosen to lead some crusade. “Holy War” is the same thing, that God ordained a person to lead a crusade. Really, the infinite Matt Taibbis on the typewriter couldn’t have done a more thorough job of aping Anderson.
The Awl.com’s Abe Sauer went through the two pieces and painstakingly pointed out the obvious. While Sauer is as big a lefty as Taibbi, at least he sees there is a serious ethical problem with just rewriting Anderson’s piece, slapping your name on the byline, and calling it a day. Sauer got Rolling Stone editor Eric Bates “to admit he had deleted several ‘according to City Pages’ references. Bates promised to add links back into the electronic version of the story, which he did.” This isn’t just a case of deleted identity or missing links. Taibbi just robbed Anderson of his ill-conceived and ridiculous story and threw it in magazine racks across the nation UNDER HIS OWN NAME. Certainly, journalists, of all people, should be furious. What’s to stop someone as predatory as Taibbi from just burgling other people’s work and laying claim to it? It’s not just dishonest. It’s just plain amoral. For Bates to allow Anderson’s fictional tales to be considered Taibbi’s fictional tales breaks the moral bond between writers that their thoughts and work will be respected as their own work.
Disgusting and just plain sick. But, with Arianna Huffington selling other’s work for her mess o’ potage and a complete lack of journalistic integrity in the Democratic Party-run press, this shouldn’t be a surprise. They aren’t really worried about ethics then they are busy running interference for their Dear Leader.
Taibbi’s third ethical lapse is that of allowing his own bigoted viewpoints color every corner of his piece. Journalists are no longer supposed to be neutral. But they are, at least, supposed to let the story tell itself. While there aren’t any journalists peopling the State-run media that are attempting to just expose the story, Taibbi takes it to the next level.
Taibbi had some employment issues after writing a piece in 2005 entitled, “The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope.” His editor was summarily dismissed and Taibbi airily pretended to leave on his own accord. However, his piece was a vicious attack on the Roman Catholic Church. He seems to still be a little miffed over that episode. He continues his attacks on Christianity in this stolen piece.
“Bachmann's entire political career has followed this exact same pattern of God-speaks-directly-to-me fundamentalism mixed with pathological, relentless, conscienceless lying.” You see, Taibbi doesn’t understand religious faith. He believes in utter and complete faith in the progressive/socialist ideals of government as the parent or godlike omnipotent, omniscient presence in life. He cannot fathom people of faith actually believing in an active, engaged, loving God who wants to guide us through our lives. He sees God as a reactive psychopathological coping device. Taibbi believes with all his heart that the State should be the active, engaged, loving presence in everyone’s life and that faith in a Higher Power is delusional, even as his own State falters and fails him.
So, Taibbi vents his fury at religion and God and any who follow those dictates. After all, Christian morals would have prevented him from getting this great story in his name, even though it is the fruit of another’s labor.
But Taibbi’s prejudices aren’t confined to hating religion. He also shows his contempt for women. Women, according to amoral Neanderthals like Taibbi, are supposed to believe what he believes. They are supposed to have nice situational ethical philosophies that consign babies to the category of lumps of flesh. He believes that women must rattle off the same political positions he takes or there is something wrong with them. He’s learned that women are liberals and if a woman isn’t liberal, well, then she really isn’t a woman and ergo must be a man.
“The public has become acquainted with some of Bachmann's other excellent qualities as a politician — her TV-ready looks, her easy confidence in public speaking, her quick command of a mountainous database of (frequently bogus) facts — but often overlooked is her greatest quality, the gigantic set of burnished titanium Terminator-testicles swinging under her skirt.”
Taibbi’s sexism is brutally apparent. Any women that dare oppose his meek acceptance of government as his god and master must be, well, men. Women don’t think for themselves in such aggressive ways. Women are reliable serfs of their progressive/socialist masters, er leaders. Women certainly cannot speak their own minds and have their own conclusions if they differ with the Dear Leader and the Party.
Obviously, Michele Bachmann is a man. She had testicles. She’s hiding those testicles from the rest of us. It makes perfect fictional sense to a slave to the state like Taibbi. As a result, he ‘courageously’ calls her out. In his own feverish mind, he thinks he’s done The State a service. Taibbi believes he’s made a difference to defend the Petulant One.
What Taibbi has really done is expose another example of the amoral left and the ethical lapses which plague it. Taibbi is the poster boy for all that’s wrong with liberal sensibilities and the fruit of their philosophy. We can see in his, or rather Anderson’s, scribbling, that the leftwing absence of ethical imperatives leads to lying, mischaracterization, stealing, blatant bigotry, and spewing of hate.
Matt Taibbi’s work is at least illustrative of that.
Crossposted at Looktruenorth.com