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Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss Are "Conservative Journalists" Now
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Yesterday, December 12th, the Washington Post published a real banger about Twitter dissolving its so-called “Trust & Safety Council” and the alleged harassment that former Twitter head of trust and safety Yoel Roth — he of the auto-ethnography PhD on his personal Grindr usage — has purportedly been facing ever since Musk took over the company.
In the article, the Post briefly mentioned Roth’s role in the Twitter Files story that’s been reported by Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss, who are described as “conservative journalists”:
As head of trust and safety at Twitter, Roth was involved in many of the platform’s decisions about what posts to remove and what accounts to suspend. His communications with other Twitter officials have been posted in recent days as part of what Musk calls the Twitter Files, a series of tweets by conservative journalists Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss.
As is now standard operating procedure for mainstream rags, the Post stealth-edited the article by removing the word “conservative” after they were called out for it. No editor’s note was added.
Folks, if either of Taibbi or Weiss is a conservative, then I’m a veritable Nazi. Of course, to your standard Post reader anyone to the right of proponents for family-friendly drag shows is just a stone’s throw away from the anti-Christ himself, Donald J. Trump, but it’s insane that the media class is ascribing completely inaccurate political ideologies to independent journalists because they want to discredit the journalism itself.
Taibbi is often a harsh critic of the Left, but you’d have to be an imbecile or completely unfamiliar with his reporting to not know he’s fundamentally a liberal on virtually every social and economic question of note. Weiss, on the other hand, has described herself as a “left-leaning centrist” and is no more a conservative than the congenital moron Jen Rubin, who makes a living pretending to be a conservative at the Washington Post and looks like the adult version of the neurotic, self-involved girl in homeroom who reads Good Housekeeping during her free time and has a school planner filled with little doodles and notes written in gel pens.
The branding of Taibbi and Weiss as conservative is obviously intentional, and it highlights the utter absence of journalists at places like the Washington Post and New York Times who aren’t positively disposed toward modern progressive orthodoxies. “Conservative” in this sense is used as a smear; it serves as a notice to readers that those branded accordingly should be ignored and everything they say discredited.
It really is a damning indictment of the mainstream media that they seek to impose professional consequences on journalists who don’t agree with or parrot every liberal piety. Neither Taibbi nor Weiss should be right-coded for straying from the left-wing consensus, but their lack of deference to their betters employed at establishment lie merchants puts them at odds with the anti-majoritarian party line that progressive journalists, who endorse a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that attenuate our norms of open debate and intellectual diversity in favor of ideological conformity, have fervently policed since Trump’s election.
For all intents and purposes, the media has become a one-party system controlled by a sloppy mix of security state liberals, woke identitarians, and Twitter Robespierres who’ve repeatedly shown their willingness to cater to the more militant sects of progressivism, which is how you get chyrons like “Fiery but mostly peaceful protests.”
And time and again, what we see is that the harshest attacks from this one-party media conglomerate are reserved for internal critics who dare to stray from the party line while still identifying as members of Team Blue. These are heretics who’re lumped together, like Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss and Glenn Greenwald, all of whom are regularly, derisively dismissed as provocateurs and closet reactionaries and grifters. Such dismissals send a signal to others in a business already in a “death spiral” that failure to toe certain editorial lines and express sufficient fealty to the trite, imperious campus Marxism that passes for leftist thought these days will not go unnoticed and will have professional ramifications.
A New Yorker article on Greenwald from a few years ago is particularly illustrative of the lengths these people will go to discredit and malign journalists who engage in wrongthink. The writer quotes the editor of Nation, Joan Walsh, who edited Greenwald when he wrote for Salon. According to Walsh, Greenwald’s Russiagate skepticism was rooted in “disdain” for the Democratic Party, in part because of its closeness to Wall Street, but also because of the “ascendance of women and people of color.” The takeaway remains clear: Even if you’re a Pulitzer-winning journalist, you can still be baselessly accused of racism for deviating from consensus narratives—even on questions that literally have nothing to do with race.
In the case of Taibbi and Weiss (and Greenwald as well, really), many of the political views they hold are no different than those held by your typical Democratic voter—normie liberal social values. Indeed, were you to travel back in time to the early aughts, you’d find that the views they held then are much the same as the views they hold now. They’re actually remarkably consistent in that regard, which I think is pretty admirable in an age of sellouts. Where Taibbi and Weiss often dissent, however, is on core issues of the contemporary progressive media consensus like Russiagate, free speech, and identity politics.
For the institutional Left, these are issues featuring a degree of groupthink that approaches religious-like zeal, for which reality may be freely misreported so long as the political goal is righteous. And the way they’re covered shows how the media operates on an axis completely antithetical to the sort of reporting that Taibbi and Weiss have excelled at, an axis driven by top-down narrative constructions based on theories of identity and power with an emphasis on performatively symbolic issues, like the adoption of the ethnic designation “Latinx.”
Whereas Taibbi and Weiss believe in what’s essentially a populist form of journalism — meaning they believe in covering issues that most impact American voters (which seems like common sense, but here we are) — the mainstream media’s ritualistic denunciations of industry heretics serves as an effective deterrent for anyone tempted to notice the ever-widening chasm between elite moral crusades and the priorities of ordinary Americans. Just look at the disinterest with which the corporate media has treated the bombshell Twitter Files revelations. The merging of state and corporate power to silence voices — from leading epidemiologists to regular folks — is textbook fascism and very obviously something that people should know about, regardless of political persuasion; instead, the media has turned this episode into yet another example of the collectivized decision-making process that now governs the larger information space, in which a self-appointed elite decides what ordinary Americans should and should not be privy to and works to discredit independent journalists who believe otherwise.
A Note About Twitter and Yoel Roth
It must be said that there’s currently an immense hypocrisy playing out whereby the same left-leaning people who for years justified Twitter’s “content moderation” by averring that “Twitter’s a private company and can do whatever it wants, and if you don’t like it, you can leave” are now complaining because Twitter is a private company whose owner is doing what he wants. But rather than leaving, they’re trying, with the help of prominent Democratic politicians and liberal influencers and celebrities, to 1) manufacture the need for the government to step in and increase its control of speech on Twitter now that it’s lost its informal channels to do that, and 2) make the platform toxic to advertisers and thus force the company into bankruptcy.
This is why it’s so important that “Twitter Blue,” the new subscription-based model of verification that Musk is rolling out, succeeds: The platform will become less reliant on ad revenue, which will facilitate its new commitment to freedom of speech and transparency.
As for the alleged harassment of Yoel Roth, spare me. This was someone who became arguably one of the country’s most powerful technocrats on a resume thinner than Amber Heard’s septum. While he was in his position of power at Twitter, he abused it, in some cases ruining people’s livelihoods by removing them from the platform. And as I detailed in a previous post, Roth played a central role in censoring leading epidemiologists like Dr. Jay Bhattacharya who challenged The Narrative™, and who, had they been listened to and debate permitted, would’ve steered us away from imposing scientifically bereft, socially disastrous covid policies. To say nothing of Roth’s borderline unilateral decision to impose the extreme rubicon-crossing censorship of a sitting democratically-elected president.
This is not some innocent bystander, he’s a public figure who people are well within their rights to criticize. If you should have any doubts and haven’t already read the Twitter Files, I encourage you to do so. It’s very clear that Roth is the villain of the story.