Latest News: Posts Tagged ‘HATE’

HATE INC recommended by Matt Damon in the New York Times

Thursday, July 29th, 2021
Read the article here.

“Manufacturing dissent” — HATE INC author Matt Taibbi interviewed on Capitalisn’t

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

UPCOMING WEBINAR: “How the News Became a Twisted Branch of Show Business—and What We Can Do About It” — with HATE INC. author Matt Taibbi

Thursday, August 13th, 2020
Sep 17, 2020 04:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register here.

“Return of the Vampire Squid” — HATE INC. author Matt Taibbi interviewed on Real Time with Bill Maher

Monday, May 4th, 2020

“A raucous updating of Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman’s classic dissection of capitalist news. Its message is hilarious yet grim: behind the buffoonery of the 24-hour partisan news machine is a propaganda system devoted to upholding the power of entrenched elites.” — HATE INC. reviewed in Jacobin

Monday, April 13th, 2020

Manufacturing Consent One Chyron at a Time

Matt Taibbi’s Hate Inc. is a seething, if amusing, indictment of American political media in the Trump era. But, more importantly, it is a systemically-minded account of the actual sources of media debasement and the ways in which particular patterns of behavior are hardwired into the news.

Those unfamiliar with Taibbi’s past work in media criticism, invariably skewering, may get a misleading impression of the book’s content from both its title and cover. Subtitled “Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another” and featuring ominous profile shots of both Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity, Hate Inc. at a casual glance looks like it might be yet another generic screed leveled against partisanship or lamenting the descent of the once-proud enterprise of journalism into adversarial virulence.

The American political class and its media proxies have been pumping out versions of this story for decades, bemoaning the sorry state of a politics where no one gets along, leaders won’t work together to find bipartisan “solutions” (which are generally just assumed to be centrist hobbyhorses like conquering the almighty deficit or gutting Social Security), and the discourse is confrontational rather than conciliatory.

That narrative has long been nestled in the public imagination as well, particularly among liberals, and ultimately became one of the defining impulses of the Obama era. Amid the rise of the Tea Party, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert famously held a kind of ironic opposition rally whose basic MO was to issue a giant plea for Americans to start using their indoor voices (the meanest, least conciliatory people imaginable would recapture the House of Representatives a few days later). During the Trump era, the popular front coalition of establishment liberals and so-called Never Trump conservatives has appealed in similar fashion to the idea of restoring sanity and friendly cooperation as a bulwark against the nasty extremes of both right and left.

In this all-too-popular conception of what ails American politics, the issue is mainly one of aesthetics and tone rather than substance, structure, or ideology. Vacuous shouting matches a la Eichenwald v. Carlson are source rather than symptom, and media rancor is largely about the moral decline of a once noble institution. Given the ubiquity of these narratives, we certainly do not need a further contribution to the tired “American politics are excessively partisan and the media is to blame” genre so beloved by centrists, nor another paint-by-the-numbers attempt to blame Fox News for Everything That’s Wrong With America.

Thankfully, Hate Inc. is neither. Instead, Taibbi offers us a necessary and timely update to the theories advanced by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in their landmark 1988 book Manufacturing Consent and a series of illustrative case studies drawing on his own frustrations with contemporary journalism. The basic thesis advanced by Chomsky and Herman was that management of public opinion in capitalist democracies rarely takes the form of overt propaganda or censorship, but is instead achieved through vigorous policing of what constitutes acceptable opinion such that, as Taibbi puts it, “the range of argument has been artificially narrowed long before you get to hear it.”

Read the full review here.

“There’s a saying at The Nation magazine: what’s bad for the nation is good for The Nation. When the right is ascendant, in other words, so are subscriptions to the left-wing magazine.”—The Los Angeles Review of Books reviews Matt Taibbi’s HATE INC.

Monday, December 16th, 2019

Making Money from Division

This might be called a business model, but not very convincingly. After all, left-wing magazines don’t make much money even in the worst years. (The Nation hosts, however incongruously, an annual cruise to help keep the lights on.) If their main aim was to make money fanning the flames of political division, they’d work elsewhere.

Matt Taibbi might say they’d find more lucrative work at MSNBC. In his biting new critique of partisan media, Hate Inc., he puts the progressive cable news channel in the same dishonorable category as Fox News. Despite their obvious political differences, he argues, both have made the news a consumer product designed “not just to make you mad, but keep you mad, whipped up in a state of devotional anger.”

Even if the information reported on MSNBC or Fox is factually correct, Taibbi says their work doesn’t amount to traditional journalism because their aim isn’t to inform viewers but to addict them — and addict them, particularly, to a narrative of permanent conflict where one side is always right and the other always wrong.

Read the full review here.

“All the news media—with a few online exceptions—are part of a single poisonous and self-reinforcing information ecosystem.”—The New York Review of Books reviews Matt Taibbi’s HATE INC.

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

The Medium Is the Mistake

In the pattern Taibbi describes, this was a typical expression of the ethic that pervades the anti-Trump media. After all, what journalistic imperative requires a collective purpose of grouping or framing? The very idea of framing—like a TV producer’s “thematic” links from episode to episode—may be incompatible with saying what is both true and important. Unless you believe that reality writes its script according to themes and frames, the duty of an honest reporter is to shun precisely the fictive convenience provided by a frame. A journalistic outlet may have a predictable slant in spite of its attempts at impartiality, but it seems odd to wear the prejudice as a badge of honor.

Most days at the Times are felt to warrant (at a rough estimate) between four and six stories with Trump’s name in the headlines. The front page on October 15, for example, in addition to many stories on Syria and Turkey, carried an item on a “gruesome video” that was “played at a meeting of a pro-Trump group over the weekend.” To swell the chorus of follow-up stories on Syria and Turkey, the front section on October 19 added a full half-page exposition and analysis of Trump’s recent visit to Texas—a piece of ordinary political maneuvering that in another administration might have rated six inches or maybe none. All this keeps the pot boiling. We can’t take our eyes off Trump, and besides, the stories are good for business; subscription numbers are going up, and readers feel a mild glow of validation from the energy of disapproval. We can hate Trump with a semi-civilized smirk.

Read the full review here.

Matt Taibbi discusses HATE INC. with Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola on Unauthorized Disclosure

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Interview With Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone Reporter And Author Of HATE INC.

For this week’s episode, Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola interviewed Matt Taibbi, a Rolling Stone reporter and author of the recently released book, Hate Inc: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another.

Taibbi is also a host of the new hit podcast from Rolling Stone called “Useful Idiots.” He co-hosts the show with Katie Halper, and it often has more listeners (per week) than “Pod Save America.”

He starts by describing some of his experience in journalism and what led him to write this insightful and enjoyable polemic about the media.

Taibbi agrees that cable news is terribly grating on our nerves, and he talks about why that’s the case. He also describes how the media sells us an identity.

Later in the show, we discuss what happens when media elites decide someone is or should be viewed as a pariah (like Tulsi Gabbard). We speculate on how Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren might do against President Donald Trump.

And Taibbi shares his opinion on the media’s lack of solidarity with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is the first journalist to be charged with violating the Espionage Act.

Listen to the show here.

“Who split America? A journalist looks to his own for answers.”–The Washington Post reviews Matt Taibbi’s HATE INC.

Friday, October 18th, 2019

In the drive for profits, Matt Taibbi says, reporters are taking sides and stoking hate.

There’s a scene in Evelyn Waugh’s “Scoop,” the irreverent 1938 sendup subtitled “A Novel About Journalists,” where hapless protagonist William Boot wonders why so many reporters file divergent accounts of the same events.

“But isn’t it very confusing if we all send different news,” he asks a veteran correspondent.

“It gives them a choice,” the colleague says of British editors. “They all have different policies so of course they have to give different news.”

I was reminded of “give different news” while reading Matt Taibbi’s “Hate Inc.,” which is also a book about journalists but with a much darker subtitle: “Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another.” Taibbi, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, writes that “Scoop” is one of a handful of books he carries whenever he travels, and traces of its comic cynicism animate his prose. But where Waugh brilliantly satirized, Taibbi aims a cannon, blistering an American media industry he accuses of taking sides and manipulating the audience for profit — “different news” elevated to a business model.

Read the full review here.

“Commercial media has always been sensationalistic. We were never not encouraged to aim content at your outrage center. We were always eyeball-hunting.”–HATE INC. by Matt Taibbi excerpted in A Public Seminar

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

An excerpt of Hate Inc. in A Public Seminar

Commercial media has always been sensationalistic. We were never not encouraged to aim content at your outrage center. We were always eyeball-hunting.

I know this because I was hired to do this work, over and over. My commercial niche, in fact, was the vitriolic essay that got people spitting mad, or poked fun at someone audiences hated.

I was the Triumph the Insult Comic Dog of journalism. I actually won the National Magazine Award for commentary, the highest award you can get in the magazine business, for a Rolling Stone article about Mike Huckabee called “My Favorite Nut Job” that called the Arkansas governor a “Christian goofball of the highest order” who resembled an “oversized Muppet.” There is and was great demand in the business for “takedown artists,” provided you’re taking down the right people.

Read the full excerpt here.

“In a smart and scathing freewheeling analysis, the Rolling Stone journalist analyzes political campaign coverage and other media powder kegs.”–The New York Times recommends Matt Taibbi’s HATE INC.

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019

The New York Times features Matt Taibbi’s Hate Inc. in their new and noteworthy books column

HATE INC.: Why Today’s Media Makes Us Despise One Another, by Matt Taibbi. (OR Books, $24.95.) In a smart and scathing freewheeling analysis, the Rolling Stone journalist analyzes political campaign coverage and other media powder kegs.

Read the full column here.

Matt Taibbi goes on The Hill’s Rising to discuss HATE INC.

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

Matt Taibbi: There is no such thing as unbiased media

Journalist Matt Taibbi describes his latest book and how it relates to the developing impeachment scandal.

Watch the full clip here.

“The question, especially for Americans old enough to remember Walter Cronkite and “the paper of record,” is what happened to journalistic objectivity and “fair and balanced” news. Why are major news outlets so partisan now?” —A Pressland review of HATE INC.

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

Manufacturing Dissent

The collapse of Russiagate, which left Rachel Maddow nearly in tears, also caught the New York Times “a little tiny bit flat-footed,” as executive editor Dean Baquet confessed in August. “The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, ‘Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.’ …We built our newsroom to cover one story… Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.

Read the full review here here.

“Reporters have often become unwitting props in the amped-up, WWE brand of politics practiced by Donald Trump, even as their organizations have profited mightily from it.” —A starred Booklist review of HATE INC.

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

HATE INC. receives a starred review in Booklist

For clarity, “media” here refers to the political reporters covering the savage, suffocating, unending U.S. presidential campaign cycle, and not the local press just trying to report on city-council proposals, regional business, crime, sports and the like—a noble effort that gets tarred by the same brush used for cable news. Taibbi (I Can’t Breathe, 2017), who covered the 2016 campaign season for Rolling Stone, makes a number of points that stick: reporters have often become unwitting props in the amped-up, WWE brand of politics practiced by Donald Trump, even as their organizations have profited mightily from it. Reporters have narrowed the bandwidth for what makes a “worthy” presidential candidate by asking irrelevant questions like: Would voters like to have a beer with candidate X? Most saliently, Taibbi cites the devastating global consequences of the press’ failure to call the Bush administration’s bluff on WMDs in the run-up to the Iraq War. He also makes the controversial, and probably premature, case that the media’s assumptions in reporting on Russiagate are the modern-day equivalent of its WMD debacle. “The news is a consumer product,” Taibbi stresses, by way of explaining the marketplace in which the political press must operate. But, like some other consumer products—food and medicine come to mind—news is still essential to our health.

“A smart dissection of a grim media landscape.” —Publishers Weekly reviews HATE INC.

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

HATE INC. reviewed in Publishers Weekly

This pox-on-both-their-houses screed from Taibbi (The Great Derangement) posits that the mainstream media stokes dopamine-pumping fury rather than reporting on depressing truths such as systemic inequality. Acknowledging that his book is “more confessional than academic study,” Taibbi vents about what he believes are journalists’ lazy assumptions, clichés, and elitism.

Read the full review here.

“Hate Inc. brilliantly captures the current circus atmosphere and explores its roots in the political, economic and technological transformations of the last half century.”—John Kendall Williams reviews Hate Inc. in Counterpunch

Friday, August 2nd, 2019

A review of HATE INC. in Counterpunch

Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity face off on the cover of Hate Inc. Loud Democrats versus Loud Republicans. Of the two, Taibbi takes issue with Maddow more because he sees her as “smart, quick, and funny,” and should know better than to slog the slimey end of Trump and Russiagate the way she has. Meanwhile, “The Sean Hannity Show is an uncomplicated gruel of resentment, vituperation and doomsaying,” writes Taibbi. Both adhere, to varying degrees, to what Taibbi calls The Ten Rules of Hate, which include notions like, “There are only two ideas,” “Root, don’t think,” “No switching teams,” “The other side is literally Hitler,” and in fighting that other side everything is permitted. For Taibbi, they are two faces of the coin of the fucked-up Realm.

We’ve been at the bread and circuses so long in America that it’s now difficult to conjure up the sad, but heady, days of catharsis that followed Dick Nixon’s TV resignation in 1974.

Read the full review here.

“An invigorating polemic against tactics the news media use to manipulate and divide their audiences.”—a review of HATE INC. in Kirkus Reviews

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

A review of HATE INC. in Kirkus Reviews

Rolling Stone contributing editor Taibbi (I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street, 2017, etc.) spares neither right- nor left-leaning pundits as he inveighs against cable TV and other media that treat news as a form of entertainment.

After nearly three decades as a journalist, the author reconsiders the message of one of his earliest professional touchstones, Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, in which Chomsky argued that censorship in the United States wasn’t overt but covert—that news companies simply failed to promote people who opposed their aims. Taibbi saw the self-censorship in newscasts that courted the widest possible audiences with a bland approach he sums up as, “Good evening, I’m Dan Rather, and my frontal lobes have been removed. Today in Libya.…”

The explosion of cable news channels helped to change that, but the author argues convincingly that many outlets have traded one sin for another. Media companies now shunt viewers into “demographic silos” and treat news like pro wrestling, fomenting conflict by encouraging people to take sides.

Read the review here.

“After generations of doing the opposite, when unity and conformity were more profitable, the primary product the news media now sells is division.” —Matt Taibbi, author of HATE INC., from an extract of the book published in THE WASHINGTON SPECTATOR

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

An extract of HATE INC. published in THE WASHINGTON SPECTATOR

The Media’s 10 Rules of Hate

Pick up any major newspaper, or turn on any network television news broadcast. The political orientation won’t matter. It could be Fox or MSNBC, The Washington Post or The Washington Times. You’ll find virtually every story checks certain boxes.

Call them the 10 rules of hate. After generations of doing the opposite, when unity and conformity were more profitable, the primary product the news media now sells is division.

The problem we (in the media) all have is the commercial structure of the business. To make money, we’ve had to train audiences to consume news in a certain way. We need you anxious, pre-pissed, addicted to conflict. Moreover we need you to bring a series of assumptions every time you open a paper or turn on your phone, TV, or car radio. Without them, most of what we produce will seem illogical and offensive.

In Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky highlighted how the press “manufactured” public unity by making sure the population was only exposed to a narrow median strip of political ideas, stretching from Republican to Democrat (with the Democrat usually more like an Eisenhower Republican).

The difference now: we encourage full-fledged division on that strip. We’ve discovered we can sell hate, and the more vituperative the rhetoric, the better. This also serves larger political purposes.So long as the public is busy hating each other and not aiming its ire at the more complex financial and political processes going on off-camera, there’s very little danger of anything like a popular uprising.

That’s not why we do what we do. But it is why we’re allowed to operate this way. It boggles the mind that people think they’re practicing real political advocacy by watching any major corporate TV channel, be it Fox or MSNBC or CNN. Does anyone seriously believe that powerful people would allow truly dangerous ideas to be broadcast on TV? The news today is a reality show where you’re part of the cast: America vs. America, on every channel.

The trick here is getting audiences to think they’re punching up, when they’re actually punching sideways, at other media consumers just like themselves, who happen to be in a different silo. Hate is a great blinding mechanism. Once you’ve been in the business long enough, you become immersed in its nuances. If you can get people to accept a sequence of simple, powerful ideas, they’re yours forever.

See all ten rules here.

“Like a con man who can lift a wallet in the middle of a melee, Trump thrived amid the chaos” —MATT TAIBBI, author of HATE INC. on Russiagate and Trump’s weaponizing of disarrayed media in Rolling Stone

Friday, April 5th, 2019

MATT TAIBBI discusses how inadequate and inappropriate media coverage lead to Trump’s election, a primary subject in his upcoming book Hate Inc.

If Trump insulted an innocent person like Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, who is disabled, his goal wasn’t to try to win a popularity contest. He was after the thing that always came next: the endless “scornful rebukes” from press and celebrities. These rituals always went on just a bit too long, to the point where it was clear both Trump and the media were milking the incidents for publicity.

Trump would push right up until he caught the press having too much fun with something outrageous he’d done (the Washington Post running “Donald Trump’s ‘Schlonged’: A linguistic investigation” was an infamous example), at which point he’d declare victory and move on to the next outrage.

The subtext was always:I may be crude, but these people are phonies, pretending to be upset when they’re making money off my bullshit.

I thought this was all nuts and couldn’t believe it was happening in a real presidential campaign. But, a job is a job.

Read the full article here.