Is it too late to find a place for Matt Taibbi on the person of the year, runner up lists? Before the Obama administration had Julian Assange, they had Matt Taibbi explaining the naked truth about Stanley McCrystal. And before all of that he was serving up metaphors that likened wall street to: “a great vampire squid relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smelled like money”.
While his writing can often rant, it is refreshing when so many in journalism have lost to mission to raise difficult questions and to hold newsmakers to account for what they say and do. Peter Goodman’s review of ‘Groftopia’ reminds of the rise of Mr Taibbi, and by extension the renewal of the Rolling Stone.
…Those inclined to point fingers at Wall Street or Washington are frequently derided as innocents who do not grasp how the world really works.
The result is an apologia that goes something like this: Mistakes were made, despite the best intentions of financial professionals. Bankers lent too much money to poor people who never should have bought homes. Models used to measure risk broke down, and regulators were swamped. All of this was a shame, but accidents are a part of life, and an unavoidable part of the swashbuckling style of capitalism that has enriched Americans for generations.
Nonsense, Matt Taibbi says. In “Griftopia,” a relentlessly disturbing, penetrating exploration of the root causes of the trauma that upended economic security in millions of American homes, Taibbi argues that what unfolded was far from accidental. Rather, the nation suffered the equivalent of a hostile takeover of key areas of its commercial life by investment banking houses, while regulators and members of Congress abdicated their responsibilities either because they were influenced by campaign cash or because they believed the fairy tale that unsupervised markets always work best. The result, Taibbi asserts, was a thieves’ paradise — Griftopia.