The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Matt Taibbi vs. the Borg

Posted on | December 2, 2023 | 1 Comment

If you wish to amuse yourself sometime, go check out Matt Taibbi’s feed on The Social Media Platform Formerly Known as Twitter. In case you weren’t aware, Taibbi is a (former?) left-wing journalist once celebrated by his peers for his reporting in Rolling Stone, but who reached some kind of epiphany during the Trump years, and who has since enraged the Left by exposing the role of government agencies in censorship conducted in the guise of combating “misinformation.” Because of this, Taibbi is now seen by the Left as a traitor, leading to online exchanges like this one with Doug Henwood, a contributing editor at The Nation:

The work done by Taibbi and his “Twitter Files” colleague Michael Shellenberger in exposing the abuses of the “anti-misinformation” racket ought to be universally admired. Indeed, I would argue, it might have gotten a Pulitzer Prize were it not for the fact that the establishment media are now pro-censorship, insofar as that censorship is aimed at silencing “the far right” (i.e,, anyone who doesn’t vote Democrat) and other critics of the Biden administration. Establishment journalists generally have become “Democratic operatives with bylines,” so that questions about what is true and what is important are, in their minds, determined by the immediate interests of The Party. We see this partisan bias, for example, in discussions around Joe Biden’s fitness for office. There are lots of journalists now raising alarms about Biden’s advanced age and cognitive decline, topics they once would have dismissed as “right-wing disinformation” or “Fox New talking points.”

Why the change? Simple — polls indicate Biden would likely lose a 2024 rematch with Trump. Anything that jeopardizes Democratic Party control of the federal government is bad, according to the media hivemind, and so the idea of “pulling a Torricelli” (i.e., switching candidates to prevent a certain defeat) is now a topic the media is willing to discuss.

Permit me to relate a relevant personal anecdote. Occasionally, I’ve been asked to speak to groups on the subject of media and politics. After one such speech in North Carolina, I was talking to a nice Republican lady who, remarking on what I’d said about liberal bias in the media, asked, “What makes you different?” That is to say, why am I not part of the liberal hivemind? On the spot, the best answer I could come up with was, “Well, I was a reporter before I got into politics.” I didn’t get into journalism because I wanted to change the world. I got into journalism because I needed a job. I started out on the bottom rung of the newspaper business, as a staff writer for a local weekly, and worked my way up, spending five years as a sports editor before landing a gig as an assistant special projects editor at the daily Rome (Ga.) News-Tribune. It wasn’t until I’d been in the business about seven years that I became interested in politics, during the first term of the Clinton presidency, when I had my own road-to-Damascus epiphany and abandoned the Democratic Party, of which I had hitherto been a staunch supporter.

The point of that digression is that I cut my teeth as a reporter covering local stories that had nothing to do with politics, and thereby developed the belief that the three most important things in journalism are accuracy, accuracy and accuracy. The idea of journalism as advancing some sort of political “cause” was alien to my thinking, and after I finally arrived in Washington — at age 37, an assistant national editor at The Washington Times — I had many opportunities to witness how the world of big-time politics and journalism operates. And I suspect that, if Matt Taibbi was to reflect on his journey to becoming a pariah to his erstwhile comrades on the Left, he might be able to relate similar experiences.

Taibbi’s background causes him to notice things that other people might ignore. For example, during testimony to Congress this week, a former aide to Mike Pence named Olivia Troye accused the committee of promoting “a politically motivated fantasy detached from reality” and “continuing to spread conspiracy theories about government censorship,” before urging them to “instead focus on the very real and very dangerous threat posed by the leading Republican candidate,” i.e., Trump. Taibbi and Shellenberger were witnesses at the same committee hearing, and Taibbi has highlighted how, when Troye was asked about her “conspiracy theories” comment, denied that she had said such a thing.


This is the hivemind of the Borg in action. These people contradict themselves without hesitation, and the media will ignore the contradictions, because they are partisan hacks who consider it their duty — their only stock in trade as “professional journalists” — to advance the interests of the Democratic Party. Such people consider themselves qualified to determine what is “misinformation,” and will applaud the government censoring any viewpoint that displeases them.

Their attitude only serves to undermine the credibility of the media establishment, and to incite paranoia, as more and more people notice how many facts are being labeled “misinformation” and how often so-called “conspiracy theories” turn out to be true. Increasing paranoia is not a good thing, of course, but the pervasive dishonesty of the media creates another problem, that we might not be paranoid enough.

(Great minds think alike: My podcast colleague John Hoge comments on the Orwellian nature of Troye’s remark. We’ll discuss this on tonight’s episode of The Other Podcast, which goes live at 7 p.m. ET.)



One Response to “Matt Taibbi vs. the Borg”

  1. Doublethink | hogewash
    December 2nd, 2023 @ 11:22 am

    […] UPDATE—My podcast partner Stacy McCain has more about that hearing over at The Other McCain. […]