Demetri Kofinas & Matt Taibbi , Hidden Forces

Matt Taibbi | The News Media and Manufacturing Consent in the 21st Century

18 Feb 2019 • 81 min • EN

In Episode 78 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Matt Taibbi, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2008 National Magazine Award, about his latest book, Hate, INC. Matt Taibbi is someone who truly needs no introduction. His polemical, but also highly illustrative and expository writing stands apart from his contemporaries, and the significance of his contributions, particularly to the public debate during the 2008 financial crisis cannot be understated. He served as an interpreter for what was, in his own words, “a crime story that most people mistakenly thought of as an economic story.” His attacks on those he identified as being chiefly responsible for the crisis were relentless, and in a media environment tenanted and owned by government apologists and banking sycophants, they were noticeably ruthless and unforgiving. In an article he penned in the spring of 2010 titled, “The Great American Bubble Machine,” Taibbi referred to the investment bank Goldman Sachs as a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Fortunately for Goldman Sachs, Matt Taibbi has since turned his attention towards the media itself, embarking on an ambitious project to update Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, for the 21st century, as a serialized book that he’s been releasing through sub-stack. The majority of this conversation deals with the subject of that book, which is a sort of operational manual for those looking to understand how journalists and the media shape social reality. When Manufacturing Consent was first published in 1988, the media landscape was still largely dominated by print and broadcast television. We’ve since gone through two, major technological disruptions, first with cable, and then with the Internet, both of which altered the traditional pathways through which governments and big business try to shape and control public opinion. Matt and Demetri discuss these changes at length, including the amplification of “flak” through social media, the new orthodoxies of groupthink, as well as an exploration of victimhood hierarchies as understood through Herman and Chomsky’s “worthy vs. unworthy victims” framework. Finally, Matt Taibbi and Demetri discuss the circus that is the media’s political coverage, including some amazing stories from Matt’s time on the 2016 campaign trail, as well as a scathing critique of his old buddies at Goldman Sachs, who are back in the news over their role in a scheme to defraud the Malaysian government and its citizens of billions of dollars through the use of a state-owned investment fund known as 1MDB. If you want access to this part of the conversation, as well as a transcript of the full episode along with this week’s 14-page rundown, which includes an updated outline of the propaganda model and a timeline of important events in the evolution of the news business, head over to or subscribe directly through our Patreon page at Subscribers instantly gain access to our entire library of content, including nearly 80 transcripts, close to 60 rundowns, and overtime segments going back to the end of December 2018. Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

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