With his newfound emphasis on the financial industry, we haven’t seen much good old-fashioned media savagery out of Matt Taibbi lately. Brutally hilarious hatchet jobs of media creatures like David Brooks and Thomas Friedman are the reason we started reading Taibbi to begin with. Well, with his book Griftopia sitting solidly in the middle of the New York Times political best-seller list, Taibbi decided to celebrate by going old school.
Bai is one of those guys — there are hundreds of them in this business — who poses as a wonky, Democrat-leaning “centrist” pundit and then makes a career out of drubbing “unrealistic” liberals and progressives with cartoonish Jane Fonda and Hugo Chavez caricatures. This career path is so well-worn in our business, it’s like a Great Silk Road of pseudoleft punditry. First step: graduate Harvard or Columbia, buy some clothes at Urban Outfitters, shore up your socially liberal cred by marching in a gay rights rally or something, then get a job at some place like the American Prospect. Then once you’re in, spend a few years writing wonky editorials gently chiding Jane Fonda liberals for failing to grasp the obvious wisdom of the WTC or whatever Bob Rubin/Pete Peterson Foundation deficit-reduction horseshit the Democratic Party chiefs happen to be pimping at the time. Once you’ve got that down, you just sit tight and wait for the New York Times or the Washington Post to call. It won’t be long.
Bai is the poster child of those guys.