Matt Taibbi - Abusing the Truth

Matt Taibbi - Abusing the Truth
Crisis in America
by - John Albanese

It is a singularly disturbing attribute of any journalist, whether a creature of the right wing media – or left, to inject themselves so thoroughly into a story that they themselves BECOME the story. This is the stuff of narcissism and yellow journalism.

Matt Taibbi is not alone. We have all seen the Geraldo Rivera video clips involving prurient subject matter, designed to incite his guests, resulting in flying chairs and bloody noses. This does not pass for journalism. It is the job of journalists to report on accidents – not incite them.

At its best it is purely the stuff of entertainment - and Jerry Springer. At its worst it is intentional disinformation put out by major news networks like FoxNews who regularly incite their guests with an agenda of insults and spin, designed to make their ideological opponents look bad.

All of this may be entertaining to watch, but it is surely not the stuff of legitimate objective journalism.

And while it may be impossible for any reporter to truly remain a fly on the wall, truly objective and emotionally uninvolved in their story, (since journalism is in fact a product of the human experience) we do expect that journalists will at the very least attempt to limit their involvement in any given story to the bare necessities of reporting the facts to the public, with at least a basic foundation of personal integrity and fairness, even when editorializing.

It is a neat trick. A shortcut towards good ratings. Engineer and provoke your guests and audience, and enjoy the attention of controversy you have created.

This is the stuff of Rush Limbaugh or Bill O’Reilly.

Unfortunately, this appears to be the case with Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone Magazine as well.

In Taibbi’s recent story “Before the 9/11 Conspiracies, There Was the Oklahoma Bombing” he appears to cater to the most prurient interests of his audience by presenting and inciting the most fringe elements and theories of the 9/11 Truth movement.

There are some lines which journalists should not cross. For example, exploiting the mentally ill is one such line.

In presenting to his audience the most fringe elements of the 9/11 Truth movement, in an interview that, according to Taibbi nearly came to physical blows, he is neither presenting a fair and balance representation of the underlying issues concerning the 9/11 Truth movement, but has instead opted to tar us all with the same brush, based on the exploitation and incitement of his subjects – one of whom he himself refers to as “the movement's house lunatic, a wild-eyed German blogger.”

Here are some facts that Matt Taibbi should acquaint himself with before choosing to tackle the issue of 9/11 Truth again:

§ A poll conducted by the New York Times and CBS news found that just 16% of Americans believe the Bush Administration is telling the truth about what they knew prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. 53% of respondents indicated they believe the Bush Administration was hiding something, and another 28% reported that they think the administration is mostly lying "when it comes to what they knew prior to September 11th, 2001, about possible terrorist attacks against the United States."

As a journalist Mr. Taibbi should be aware that these numbers are representative of a constituency that he himself is charged with serving. Journalism is a sacred obligation, and the issue of 9/11 and ACCOUNTABILITY is an issue that clearly and demonstrably reflects the concerns of millions of Americans.

Mr. Taibbi would do well to remember the victim’s families who are part of this 9/11 Truth movement as well:

§ On August 4th, 2006, 9/11 family members Lorie Van Auken, Patty Casazza, Mindy Kleinberg, and Monica Gabrielle released a statement that questioned the “entire veracity" of the 9/11 Commission's report.

§ On September 5th, 2006, a documentary endorsed by the families that fought for the creation of the 9/11 Commission was released entitled, "9/11: Press For Truth."

§ On September 11th, 2006, at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., family members Donna Marsh O'Connor, Michelle Little, and Christina Kminek asked for, "a new investigation into the events of September 11th, and this time, a truly bipartisan, global, with families invested from the beginning, middle, and throughout the end."

§ On October 14th, 2006, Monica Gabrielle, Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg, and Patty Casazza released a petition that calls for, "the immediate declassification and release of all transcripts and documents relating to the July 10, 2001 meeting that took place between former CIA Director George Tenet and then National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice" as well as "the declassification and release of both the redacted 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry Into The Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 (JICI) and the CIA Inspector General’s report, "CIA Accountability With Respect To The 9/11 Attacks." In the span of three days, they managed to get 2041 signatures.

This is the real heart of the story Mr. Taibbi, and while you choose to engage in prurient confrontations with people who are widely regarded as the most fringe elements of this movement, reporting on a food fight and near-violent confrontation, the real story appears to have slipped through your fingers.

You should know better than this Mr. Taibbi, and you owe the victim’s families an apology.