tv In Depth with Matt Taibbi KEYED SC CSPAN July 5, 2017 12:00am-3:01am EDT
>> matt, and your most recent book, insane, president, you're right about president trump quote, he is no ordinary conman, he is way above average in the american political system is his easiest mark ever. >> that was early in the campaign. i think that was it in march of 2016. it was just around the time that he was filling up the republican mom nomination. the the purpose of this article was to try to explain the trump phenomenon to people who were for the first time having to take it seriously and having to come to grips with the fact that this was happening. i took a different approach to trump and try to listen what his supporters were saying.
my take on him was that he was a brilliant media manipulator and he was perfectly suited to play on all the weaknesses of the american political media. that turned out to be true. i wish i had stuck to my guns on that because i thought he was going to be president. and then later on in the book i do not believe that. >> the day after the election you wrote, did not see donald trump coming. everybody thought that. >> well, they did. i did see a long time ago that we were going to have a problem with this post factual media atmosphere. for which trump was perfectly suited. i even wrote a book about a long time ago called the great arrangement. i never thought donald trump specifically, he was a unique character what was unique was
his insight was that the american presidential election was a reality show but a bad one with bad characters. he made it impossible to miss the reality show was perfectly suited for. >> host: along that line you recognize that any program that tried to make stars out of the human sedatives like scott walker and lindsey graham needed new producers in a new script. >> guest: exactly. we had been drifting away from substitute policy reporting and we had more and more played off the storytelling the pageantry, the debates, we had pregame
shows for people prognosticator to is going to him. we had amazing graphics showing how the person was doing according to what he or she was saying. and trump wind it be cool if it's put this in the middle of it and that's what he did. i think a lot of the professional politicians are good enough on camera. they're able to deliver his speech but they're not able to improvise what trump does to a degree that he's able to do. >> when you are covering this for "rolling stone" did you develop a respect for his campaign style or his ability -- respect is an odd word. i definitely understood and appreciated what he was doing. also early on that trump was operating on a different level
than the candidates. there's this scene i described were plymouth state university new hampshire and the press is always in the middle of the hall and there's a roped off area and the cameramen are standing there. jumpstarted to make as part of the act. what he would to us that he would interrupt and self inside look at these jerks and vultures. they hate me. they never traveled so far for an event. they didn't believe i could do this well. in the crowd would physically turn toward us sometime would start to boo and his and i got very menacing. to me was incredible because trump was taken something incredibly boring which is really very lifeless with a swift and careful delivery and turned it into this physical men in the scene wwe star
performance and it was very memorable for people. they left the hall and worked up into a lather. that was unusual for a political event. it was hard enough not to miss how effective it would be. >> host: you relate the story to say it was a reporter. i said yes and i had a lot of experiences like that. and to be fair this is been happening for a long time before trump came on the same. or maybe reporters had been more and more on popular over the years. trump use the unpopularity and a interesting way. being a billionaire from new york he theoretically had a huge accessibility problem with ordinary people. but what he did was made a
common enemy out of the media. and he presented us as the elitist upper-class enemy. what he basically said his we hate these people and so that trick of bringing us into the speech and making us characters in the story was incredibly effective. we sell to the accessibility problem. >> host: you call the american political system an easy mark, what you mean by this? >> guest: again, for example what trump did, our political system is set up in a way that's irrational and doesn't work well for ball and the politics. almost all the people covering the presidential election need to get ratings and hits in order to make money. so anybody who does those things
is going to have a massive advantage over anybody else. doesn't matter what your policy is. if you're making money they're going to cover you more. that was a major factor early in the race. there's always a statistic that trump got 23 times the amount of coverage that bernie sanders did. that was not for any substantive reason but because trump was making the newspapers money. that vulnerability that we had to somebody who is a good commercial vehicle made it easy for someone like trump to come in and take over the entire spectacle. >> host: what's it like to travel in the presidential campaign reporting bubble? >> it's a very difficult and frustrating assignment. the first time i did for a long stretch was in 2004.
he basically stuck in the same environment with the same people over and over again for days and days and weeks on end. especially the later stages of the campaign when the secret service gets about you are literally trapped in the environment. you can't leave the line you have to stay with the same people and talk to them. you're stuck with the candidate, their aides, and other reporters. they're the only people you're getting information from. what happens and i think this is a big factor what happened is that you don't spend a lot of time talking to and important people. we get our information from things like polls. that's how we take the temperature of the people. it's not an accurate way of discerning what's going on.
the public and be suffocating and strange. it's a weird atmosphere to live in. >> host: reading your most interesting couple of books, can you draw direct line from howard dean to ron paul to dennis -- to donald trump? >> guest: i think so. they were all protest candidates to begin with. the difference was, in the old days the power to take this protest candidates and marginalize them. if the establishment media collectively decided that a person was not a fit for the presidency, they would just
describe him as not really a candidate. the be subtle sometimes and unsubtle other times. sometimes they would describe them as a french candidate, other times they would not cover the speeches. and they would signal to audiences whose the real candidate and who isn't. so we had the front runners and these are the curiosities. what happen this time around is there so much animosity toward the system and establishment media into this whole but way complex group who decides who gets to be president who doesn't that the voters poured all the energy into candidates like trump and sanders whose main selling point is that i don't belong to that club. they stood up it front of audiences and said these people over here want to tell you who
your president is going to be. i'm defying that. in the old days i watch this is the press and also ron paul, they tried to do to trumpet he defied the instinct. he just wouldn't have it. >> host: do you feel like "rolling stone" and yourself a part of the mainstream media? >> guest: yes. yes and no. we been around for so long that i guess you a call this legacy media. were not corporate media. were privately owned. surf coverage is kind of a tradition. it's been around for 50 years
and you would not describe us as a threadbare alternative media publication anymore. i think that would be inaccurate. were somewhere in between. >> host: if someone went back and read hunter s thompson from 72 could they relate to today? >> guest: absolutely. his books are timeless. i think of the moors being great works of fiction. to do so because you will put in a short time. it's hard to read journalism 50 or 60 years later and get into it. but his books are like great novels. i wrote this once for one of the introductions to one of those books and it reminded me of the book like the castle or the trial. is this incredible story of the sky searching for meaning and
justice when this horrible construction of fakeness and lies. the treachery and with these awful villains by plating the landscape. he's never quite able to get there to do find happiness, truth, and validation. those books are incredible to me. they will last for another 100 or 200 years. >> let's go back to 2009, the great arrangement. you write that you were really losing faith in our political and national institutions at that point. >> this is something i saw a long time ago and worried about a lot. there is a trend on both the left and the right and unfortunately in america we have to use the catchphrases because there's no other shorthand for our politics.
people were tuning out the mainstream media. they were seeking out their own stranger sometimes more conspiratorial media sources. the internet is an incredible invention. one thing it's good at doing this matching people with their opinions. when people read the news instead of turning on abc, cbs, nbc like they did in the 70s they cannot craft their own realities by saying these are the five publication that describe the world in a way agree with. and then that's how they get their news. was started to happen at the end of the 2000 says people were beginning to retreat into their own camps.
the increasingly did not have a common set of facts they were debating. that was the precursor to this. >> is that a negative? >> i think so. it's a bad thing when the entire society cannot agree on the terms of an argument. we don't really debate each other quite issues or policies. we disagree on the literal facts of the argument. that's a difficult place for us to be we can even agree on what happened that it becomes difficult for people to look at anything more substantive than that. this is been going on for a while now. it's only getting more and more fractured as time goes on.
you really see a news organization that tries to reach the entire population. we go demographic hunting now. we say here are the readers, the viewer so we will craft the news for that audience and they will love us and these people will not. >> host: in a recent "rolling stone" column the title of it he wrote, walter -- was one of the worst americans ever. >> guest: i was thinking about his famous obituary of nixon which, and obituary contribute interesting thing to write. i remember but he said he was so crooked that he needed people to help on screws pants in the morning. is trying to do something similar for roger ailes.
but to me roger ailes was the main driver of this phenomenon. let's target the demographic and give the news that they like and forget about the other people. he talked about it and said my audience is age 55 - ted. they don't even want to hear about working women are liberals, they don't want it to exist. and they crafted a program that started us down the road of this divided media landscape where a population is split into camps and we each have our new sources of and don't agree on anything. i think he was a pioneer that factor. >> go back to the 70s when we all listen to the same news, was a good that nbc, abc and cbs controlled what we heard and saw?
>> no. it was an information monopoly. i read manufacturing consent when i was young person and i agree with the premise of the book which is that it's very easy to control the opinions of the population if you only have a few media sources. there almost always in line with the policy objectives of the government of the united states. all of that was tremendously negative, it wasn't diverse. i grew up in the media, my father was in the media. was a different kind of news landscape. the only thing i was saying it's favors that they had a different attitude toward the purpose of the news. the original conception of how the news was supposed work was if you go back to the telecommunications act of the
30s the ideas that government leave this airway to the private companies in exchange the private companies were supposed to provide a public service in the form of meaningful news. they're supposed to make their money doing entertainment or sports in the news was supposed to be loft leader and it did not have to be profitable. they were only there their minds to present something factual and useful to the public. even though it was incredibly biased and let us into wars and excluded lots of voices, there is still an urge there to try to get the story correct that is not necessarily true now. were basically crafting an entertainment model for people and people consumed the news the same way they consume entertainment.
>> host: back to the great arrangement from 2009. the drainage and i describe in this book kicked off when americans finally figured out that have been betrayed by the mainstream political system but still failed to abandon the old paradigm completely. >> yes, it wasn't like we had a revolution, there was a frustration with people. they do not trust their politicians, they didn't trust the media but they didn't have an alternative that they trusted either. there's a lot of incoherence frustration and anger that was looking for an outlet. i think that left us ripe for things that happened blaster with donald trump. there was an enormous amount of people who are discontent they were looking for any kind of change irrespective of what the change was.
two out of three people favored a new direction and they didn't care what the direction was. that usually favors somebody like trump. his main argument to people was what everything committee i'm not what you have experienced before. that was attractive to people. >> host: because you are critical in your writings about donald trump do people assume he supported hillary clinton? >> unfortunately that's a consequence of how america consumes the media now. it's assumed that if you write something negative about one party that you must support the other party. i think people like roger ailes pioneered this, if you're saying something negative about the clintons, therefore you must be a conservative.
that is this materialist view of what news is as opposed to just being sometimes people will have negative feelings about both candidates whether trying to be objective and call things as they are. not necessarily a political a to cover someone in a positive or negative way. >> gritted the name of that book come from? >> guest: there is a band called insane clown posse's. is trying to come up with something that hang around with donald trump for year not want to be settle in your marketing ideas. who did the drawing? >> guest: that is victor you house? is illustrator for "rolling stone". he's amazing. we've worked together for over a decade now. he has the same basically
disturbed sense of humor that i do. we had a lot of fun. >> and from that book, the clintons probably should the left politics moment they decided they did not care what the public thought about how they made their money. >> guest: i thought that was an amazing detail in the reporting that has come out. among other things in books like shattered they describe the moment where hillary clinton essentially said which is trying to decide whether or not to accept or turned into over $100 million in speaking fees by taking a tour of the various banks and corporations, she said they're going to nate right negative things about me or whatever i do. i can't remember exactly what she said. but i think when you're in that place is a politician business and it doesn't matter what i do,
people will hate me no matter what, then what that means is that in my mind you no longer bring about what the public thinks of you riches a dangerous place for politician to be. >> host: good afternoon and welcome to book to be in c-span2. this is our monthly in depth program. invite one author on to talk about his or her body of work. this month from our new york studio "rolling stone" correspondent author, matt. he's the author of several boo books. his first one came in 2000 called the exile. sex, drugs, and liable in the new russia. spanking the donkey. dispatching from the gun season came in 2005. smells like dead elephants cannot 2007. the great arrangement which we have talked about a little bit.
the terrifying true story of war, politics, and religion in 2009. most recently his grip at topia, the stray bankers, politicians, and the most audacious -- in history. the divide came on 2014. american injustice in the age of the wealth gap and finally, insane clown president dispatches from the 2016 circus. this is your chance to call in and talk about his work. [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
[inaudible] [inaudible] >> host: how did you get into the business? >> guest: it's a family business. most everybody i knew was a reporter. my father was a news reporter starting from the age of 18. he works here in new york and he does a little bit of work for tbs but was in the business for 50 years. my stepmother was an anchor cnn for a while.
business anchor. a lot of my family friends growing up loo worked at placese the international herald tribune. the child was like the movie anchorman. i spent most my former years and local television affiliates with bad facial hair and stuff like that. never wanted to do this for a living but i wanted to be a novelist. when it turned out my fiction was pretty bad i fell back into the family business. >> host: what did you know you are a writer? >> guest: from the agent may be 11 or 12 i knew i wanted to be a writer. i had a really deep love of books when i was growing up. i was the only child. we moved a lot.
books were tremendous. i was depressed a lot. and i started to learn to write i became obsessed with the idea. writing is like a religion. if you get into it you can never really complete the task of being perfect at it. you have to constantly try to practice getting better and better. i became addicted to attend a young age. i wanted to be a comic novelist. my heroes were funny writers. people like saki and -- the guy who wrote heart of a dog. catch-22. these are the things that i wanted to do when i grew up. spent a lot of my early years in my teens trying to do that in
the to not work out. journalism has been great in a different way. it's an amazing profession because it allows you to see the world in this extraordinary range of people. it's been great and away that is more fulfilling than sitting at home being a fiction writer. >> host: you said you were depressed a lot, why? >> guest: i don't know. some people are just depressed. i think most people who have the problem just say it's a chemical thing in your brain. interesting, a lot of people who are my heroes also had the same problem. i remember reading about -- who was of famous russian writer and he was a terrible depressive.
he conquered it by sitting at home in trying to think of funny things to write that's how he got through. there was something i did a lot in my teen years. i tried to write funny stories and things like that. that was the way of making sense of the world. >> on your bio it says that you are the sports editor for the moscow times. how did that come about? >> i was living in russia i was there when it was communist and then i was there, went home and had a revolution came back. i loved it over in russia so much as a young, often depressed teenager and twentysomething.
america was a difficult place to be. there is enormous pressure to be successful and happy and everybody is perfect teeth and they're all thrilled. everybody was depressed. when i got there nobody dies close. i thought i fit right in. this is perfect. when i went to study their david come home. before long i ended up needing a job and sooner or later i ended the meeting people in moscow and since i had a sports background they gave me a job. >> host: how did you end up playing professional basketball in mongolia? >> guest: i played basketball in college in the states. i'm an okay division iii basketball player basically.
i played a lot of streetball in moscow. i was out at moscow state university one day and i met this kid. we're playing three oh three. he told me his from the capital of mongolia. he told me about a leak they had there, and he said it was the only leak in the world that had nba rules outside of america. sounded like so much fun. i witnessed work the next and quit my job. packed up my stuff and got on the railroad and when i got there got to try out and got on one of the teams. i would've stayed there for a long time. those have a great time but i got ill and had to come home. it was cool. there is this i was like a sports star there. it was great. i was known as the mongolian rodman. >> host: you've written about
your drug use. why is that important for us to know? >> guest: i don't think it's important for anybody to know i just didn't feel the need to deny. i had a time in russia, we had a newspaper called the exile. which is like a nightlife guide. we were young in a town that was very much like the wild west and communism collapsed. it was crazy at the time. we were doing a lot of crazy things. i had a pretty serious drug problem at one point. not that i want anybody to know about it but if somebody asked i admit to it. >> host: you been with "rolling stone" since 2005. your book grip topia came in
2011. you wrote alan greenspan's rise to the top is one of the great scams of our time. >> guest: alan greenspan is a character that i had only planned on doing a small section on him because he was so important to the history of the modern financial services industry. his attitude he was an accolade and he was fascinating to me as a character because he was very famous for being this great predictor of economic events. i went back to look he was wrong about almost everything he predicted. like a lot of famous hangers on to hang around rock bands or
other celebrities he was famous for being someone who is good at telling politicians what they wanted to hear. and the gift of being the president whisper was what allowed him to be there for so long. he really wasn't so great of an economist but he was a very skilled politician. >> and the divide came out in 2014. in the end, the one bank to get thrown on the dock was not a wall street firm, but one houston the opposite direction. a little to the north, tiny family-owned community bank in chinatown. >> guest: there's a movie out right now called abacus small enough for jail. it's incredible because it's a tiny family-owned chinese
immigrant bank in chinatown, it stuck between two noodle shops. silly bank of america to be indicted after the financial crisis. they were indicted because of a series of small improprieties that they reported to the authorities. they were eventually prosecuted for defrauding fannie mae. what is tradeshow the book syria have a tiny regional bank surrounded by all of these behemoth institutions that later settle for billions of dollars for committing crimes to massive scales but not criminally prosecuted. that's because we have this doctrine which is too big to fail.
and too big to jail. we have openly said people a formal attorney general, eric holder have said they were reluctant to prosecute certain companies because they're worried about the collateral consequences of what it might do to the larger economy. the congress is therefore afraid to prosecute a big bank because were concerned it will upset the economy, that means you have to be small enough to be able to prosecute, right? that's what happened. they found a bank that was small enough to prosecute. so they indicted them. very recently there found not guilty so it's an amazing story. i recommend everybody watch the movie. it's an uplifting story. >> on july 9, 2013 you're in the courtroom when junior was the prosecutor.
>> is some actually have been arraigned and they had brought them back a second time for a photo op. think about it. not one of the major bankers who got trouble or who were accused of wrongdoing after 2008, another had to appear in court room. all of the big deals were all done in back rooms. there is an exchange of money, nobody had to sit in the dock or be publicly humiliated. when you have the small immigrant bank they needed a photo opportunity. so they indicted a bunch of people and they literally dragged them into the courtroom and the excuse the prosecutors gave was it wasn't up to us it was up to the bailiffs in the courthouse. clearly it was a political thing.
the purpose of telling the story was to show how we treat different kinds of people. we treat people one way and then when they do have connections they never see the inside of a courtroom. >> the feeling of outrage. >> guest: of course. outrage is an important component of being in a reporter. if you aren't in touch with what's outrageous that it difficult to do your job. one thing that happens to people who are in the press for a long time as you get outrage fatigue after while. seen so much horrible stuff they stop responding to things the way normal person would.
the something you have to guard against is you get older. this feeling of i've seen that before. have to continually say this is not acceptable to find ways to get upset about it. >> we have a profound hatred of the week and the poor. and corresponding groveling tear before the rich and the successful in rebuilding a practice he to match those findings. >> what i was trying to say there was that the underlying political what drives the policies that lead to mass incarceration, to things like stop and frisk and community policing, were stopping 500,000 people per year emptying their pockets and throwing people in jail for things and then we take people like hsbc one of the world's largest bank second caught my dream $800 million for
terrorists in central and south america and we don't prosecute those people. they just pay a fine and walk away. what is underlying, the policy divide is that we feel like a certain group of people we worship the people who make money. never reference and the people we see as parasites and nuisances we have no sympathy whatsoever, they belong in jail. not experience that was eye-opening the master prosecutor in washington, how can you let these guys who wander date $800 million in drug money how can you let the market not go to jail?
have you been to a prison? those places are dangerous. he didn't mean it in an ironic way. what he was trying to say i just don't see that defender is deserving jail no matter what he or she does. they grew up in bad neighborhoods and are used to. of course we send them to jail. that's a nice trying to get at the psychological split. we just have this hidden hostility towards people who are poor and without means. we fear and revere. not to go on too much but i had an experience in russia that gave me insight. when i was a student in the soviet union when i went to school in the morning i would see these kids selling blue jeans and rabbit hats.
that was calmer so that was against the long communist russia. every now and again those kids would disappear for three or four weeks. do a little bit and jailing come back. meanwhile the people they were selling to there was so t-shirts and close to the party members were running the school, nobody did anything to them. it was so ingrained in soviet society that the party members don't get in trouble. but these people do. that unspoken split is where we are as a country. it's hard to reconcile with. i think it goes beyond class. clearly races a huge factor also. i think white would not want to admit it but they would look differently at a poor black person who gets busted with a
bag of weed in his or park it in a white kid who get caught for the same thing. they say he's just going through a phase. kids will be kids. but they will say something very different about a black kid who gets pulled over and has drugs. >> host: before we leave the divide, you also visited california and went through their welfare system. what was that experience? >> guest: what i was trying to show is a lot of the big banks and financial companies are covered, lot are technically guilty of crimes like fraud. i would talk to whistleblowers and things like that they would explain that if you want to prosecute these people here's what they're guilty of. so i looked at how they treated those people that i wanted to see how they treated crimes like welfare fraud.
i talked to people who are on welfare and they would tell me stories about how you have to fill out this complex form just to get they do in the first place. then they would check every item that you entered on a monthly basis. they're constantly searching the record they automatically were prosecuted for they can enter your home at any time, once are taking public age. some just trying to take this and he couldn't go and see the bookseller company like a prime mortgage fraud would be treated differently than someone who committed welfare fraud so, is
just trying to show even getting that age is a constant struggle to avoid being prosecuted for misusing the funds. with the federal reserve banking window and these gigantic banks so again, i was just trying to show the differing attitudes toward these two classes of people. >> host: to hear from you "rolling stone" readers? >> absolutely. and people on twitter. i make it a point to read hate mail, somebody takes the time to sit down to write me a letter i always read it.
i think it's important to read your hate mail. not everybody does it. i don't block anybody in social media. i think often that's one of the ways you get better as a writer. you listen to your readers and sometimes they tell you this thing you tried did not work, it wasn't funny or it sucked. >> host: is it easy is one susceptible to being brought into the group when you're traveling on the campaign and in this bubble with other reporters? is there groupthink of susceptibility? >> guest: absolutely. it's a social thing, class thi thing. just to talk about the differences, when i was a kid around the people who my father worked with reporting was more
like a trade than a profession back then. a lot of people were in the press who did not go to college. they got a and they would work their way through it was a job more like being a plumber or electrician then being a dr. or lawyer. back then, those people didn't have any affinity for politicians of the rich. they tended to have this ticket added to. it was a less diverse group of people. but in terms of class there very much more working-class group of people back in the day. now, when you're on the campaign plane you see a lot of people like me.
they come from privileged backgrounds, they went to good schools, they tend to be white and well-off. they get into the business because they're attracted to the idea being near power and powerful people. they want to hang out after the speech with the candidates aids. you would never see that 30 or 40 years ago this desire to be behind the rope line with the politicians. back then it was the enemy. what i was seeing lately as a socially the media and the people covering of the same people. after the campaign server they hang out with each other. the political strategists go to the same bars, i don't know if that's a healthy thing. maybe, may not be. it certainly different than what it used to be.
>> host: in your book, and st. cloud president, you're very critical of the mannequin. what happened? >> guest: the hillary clinton manikin video. i think that might've been a little gratuitous. this was right after the election and i remember looking at the mannequin challenger think they called it. was a bunch of people who were on the plane together and it was press and the clinton aides and the clintons and i think jon bon jovi was in that shot as well. what happened when you're in that environment for long time becomes romanticized. role in this adventure together, is it cool or hanging out there celebrities on the plane. we are all friends and that congenial atmosphere you can see it in books like primary colors or movies like that where they just lionize this whole idea of
eroding campaign. there is this disaster looming outside the plane and they were completely unaware of it. they probably ushered been panicking instead of playing that goofy game. i don't know. it's not exclusive to the clintons i've seen that kind of thing in a couple of different campaigns. i resented a plane in the obama campaign once when i came in and noticed all the reporters had photos of themselves with the barack obama and that would stick them on the side of the plane in the press section. i liked barack obama, i voted for him but i thought it was a bad look for us. you didn't want to be acting like groupies. superficially it looked bad.
i think that's what i was trying to get to with the challenge. even if we do like the people hanging out within the plane we have to come to pretend at least that were separate and maintain that distance. because it's a bad look when we get caught making a mistake. we got it entirely wrong start to finish and that's bad for us. >> host: you've also been critical of tom friedman. >> guest: i actually enjoyed reading tom friedman. what i have gotten after with him is his writing style. his famous for mixing metaphors some of them are so strange that it's almost like a psychedelic experience trying to follow what he's trying to say. he compared once the iraq war to
drive in a car with toaster and will. he said sometimes you just have to throw the wheel out. or he'll say, here is a famous thing, when you're in three holes you ca should stop diggin. you can't be in three holes at once. there's all these bizarre images that are mismatched in his writing. i met him once in his very great drink gracious to me. i felt bad about saying negative things. i just find his writing really interesting. >> host: was the origin of your name? >> guest: it is a sicilian name of arabic origin. i'm neither of those things. my father's adopted. he is filipino and hawaiian. he was adopted by a sicilian
family here in new york and that's where that name came from. >> members are guests, "rolling stone" correspondent and author, his most recent book is in sync loan president. here's what the cover looks like. phone numbers to dial in -- tyler you are on the air. go ahead. >> caller: do you think the media is complicit in the paris attacks? providing nonstop coverage of their attacks, why doesn't the media get this? i know they probably want to generate more ratings and more profits. what are your thoughts? >> guest: that's interesting. i had thought about it from that point of view.
clearly terrorism doesn't work if nobody sees it. so on the one hand there's probably some truth to that. on the other hand, it would be irresponsible not to cover these things at the same time. i don't know exactly what the happy medium is there. there may be a way to do it that's less insatiable than the way we do it. certainly more people die in domestic murders overwhelmingly then they join terrorist attacks but we were more about terrorism on the days. that is definitely a consideration. i wan wouldn't necessarily say e complicit in it. this probably a way we can deal with it that wouldn't quite
amplify the effect that they're looking for quite as much. to be frank some people are scared of terrorists right now that they've made of crazy political and some of that has to do with a terrorist attack do you find yourself in things like that happening in london, do you find yourself turning on the tv immediately? >> i don't. again, i lived in moscow when the terror attacks were routine. bombing the city. i just miss being in the subway bombing a couple of times. i don't find that it's something i have to glue myself to the television to watch. it's a fact of life. i think it's a very complicated dilemma for getting myself
worked up about it is not helpful. clearly there is something to the idea that scaring people is a way to get them to tune into their network. terrorists are scary so there is a motive there. might be worth unpacking that a bit. >> host: you have a quote saying that the best story for cnn somebody has fallen down the well of the best story for foxes that somebody was pushed on the wall by radical muslim terrori terrorist. >> the point i was trying to make their is that both the formula for both the liberal and conservative media is the same formula. were both looking for the sensationalist stories the fox version tends to be -- their favorite story tends to involve
political nemesis. whether it's a liberal professor or islamic terrorists are god knows who else. >> host: next call comes from nancy in california. >> caller: hello. thank you peter so much and thank you for c-span. matt, i followed you for a long time. my question is that my sense of when a journalist are reporters going to write a story or book, most of time it's to confirm what they are ready believe in they might ignore what they don't want to see or contradict what they initially believed. for you personally has there been a time when you thought you're going to do a story and i was going to be one way and it turned out to be different? is it possible for reporters and journalists to not be biased.
i'll take my answer off the air. thank you again. >> host: thank you. >> guest: that's a great question. i'll get teles part first. i believe all coverages bias. i don't think you can have objectivity in the way they teach it in school. it's a myth. every decision you make editorial in speaks to your point of view on things. even if you're working at the new york times and they're covering something in a nonemotional third person voice, and they're trying to give equal weight to different points of view. even if it's a choice whether to put something on the front page or in the middle, the top or on the bottom was a tab a picture not, whether to make that headline a scare headline or less threatening, all of those are editorial decisions and all speak to what your opinion on the subject is. . .
that is not a good way to do business. i think it is much better to enter into a subjective the way that is open-ended and that allows you the freedom to come and go i definitely have the experience to cover a story sinking it is one thing bin have it turned out to be something completely different. i have the experience of expecting somebody to be guilty of something i started to investigate then it turns out they were not. with a lot of reporters to not have the freedom so yes that is the key thing but unfortunately the way the business is structured it is hard to allow the latitude to go by the facts lead them instead of cranking out content. >> caller: i have a
question about health care specifically the members of congress and what type of health care do they have? what is their deductible and co pay does it do their plans cover abortion and birth control and how old are their children and how long do they keep them? is it for life and who finds that health plan?. >> that is a great question i don't know the answer to that but i do know that members of congress do enjoy a federal health insurance program or they did recently from the last time i covered the story so yes we do pay for their health insurance and of course, that adds to the perversity of members of congress moving to take away health insurance from people but i think that information
is easily discoverable if you go on to the internet to look for it. >> with your experience of the former soviet union would irritate on the current putin and trump relationship if trump was a democratic president would he be tarred and feathered by the right also what do you find between the two characters?. >> i have taken a little bit of heat for this to b.a. little bit of a skeptic but my concern with the story, first of all, politically it think it is clear i am not a fee and of donald trump i would not shed a tear if he were impeached but my concern
about the russia story it has been very sloppily reported and in a way that it is to the excess so just to give it example the dossier that was released, no responsible news outlet would ever touch that. but when that that was published by busby that put 80 nubbins -- a chain of events that as reporters as a rule don't publish unverifiable accusations for the simple reason we would not want that to happen to us. so when we did this with trumping with the set of allegations that was unverifiable, now it is all
over the internet with millions and millions of people who believe that this is true and it has led to people coming to this with the expectations they believe those facts have been confirmed when we don't know for a fact exactly what happened. i spent months of this story and is an example of not writing and you can find the truth f every te try to get over something concrete suggested dead-end on anonymous sources and suppositions of people who could not come up with verifiable concrete information. i worry about this story.
it could be a disaster if it turns out not to be true and i worry we're getting an over ourselves. and to one of the things i worry about when people are in emotional enough about a story they attack somebody or there is the new term for people who don't believe the russian thing they are called the anti-anti-trumpers so what they accuse people of is aiding and abetting donald trump and of be a russian agent among other things but what happens when people see that happening then they will think twice and say i
am not sure about this. and that is not a positive thing. people become afraid to speak their mind and the stories generate a momentum it is easy to get hits and followers on twitter by fueling the fire that they know that will happen and that is not a positive situation. you don't want people to be afraid to say what they see. and the media in particular cassavas started to happen last year even before the rush nothing took place. there was a shift even the new york times wrote about this to say trump is such an extreme character and a threat that the media has to rethink our traditional posture and start to become
advocates to think of ourselves as a force to stop him. i think a lot of people in our business have adopted that attitude did what is dangerous is it undercuts the power as a media institutionally because it derives its power entirely from the independents. if we are seen as being part of the resistance of church or democratic party then we completely lose our legitimacy we have to be only after the truth but if it is something else, then we are useless and have no function in society we have to be separate. just like the senate to help barack obama they got a
river of the ability to filibuster the presidential nominee a couple years ago because they wanted to end the gridlock in washington. that seemed like a great idea at the time for progressives because it helped people do their work but three years later now the senate is too weak and the minority party cannot filibuster the nominee in the senate undercut its own institutional authority on behalf of somebody else. and the media is doing that now. we're fighting this resistance effort making us in distinguishable and real losing our power we have to be seen as being seen separate and that is what i worried about. >> what about the differences are similarities ?. >> there are a lot of
differences and similarities the citizens will view themselves as superpower nations and they derive incredible pride in the idea they're different from those the live in small countries. i remember being in the apartment on the day they dismantled the soviet map and they changed the name from the u.s.s.r.. but basically the old soviet map became much smaller it was 23 states instead of 50 but then looking at the new map he was crying because he had grown up his whole life
with this gigantic experience of the superpower and spotted the himself as part of the empire. and now he wasn't so i think both american and russian shares the idea we're part of that country of the hierarchy for gulf countries are militarizes to but in terms of differences that is a long list. americans are much more conservative? i don't know i have to think about that. >> host: so now let's hear it here from walter in cincinnati. >> caller: first of all, i fink your right the media has become a mouthpiece for the democratic party.
but what is your opinion of the riding of the author of the notion you will never eliminate the jihadist to kill them all but we need to support the notion of the islamic world having a reformation similar to what the christian church did and why that is not talked about ? nobody talks about the idea to have the islamic world have been a reformation. >> guest: i have not read that book but i have spent a lot of time in the middle east and i clearly don't agree with the idea that
will solve any type of problem that just exacerbates the problem this is an issue i agree has to come from a transformation within those societies and also has something to do with changing our attitudes towards those societies. i don't think we would have those problems if we didn't have such it intrusive colonial presence of those areas for so long. is definitely complicated but jockey -- dropping bombs for sure is not the way to go. >> could you comment on the phenomenon of buyer's remorse?.
>> i have not seen a lot of data how much people have that they do know that his approval rating is about 39% which is of course, a little lower they and where he was in november. but the democrats have also seen a significant drop they were at 45 and now they are at 40. i think people who voted for donald trump if they were not turned off before november they probably are not and it takes somebody extraordinary lightproof of him conspiring with putin laura awful sexual scandal to really get people to move off their support.
so how many people do you know, who suddenly stop being minnesota vikings fans ? it is a fanatical relationship in many cases and it is hard to break the bond. >> host: your id new york city riding for "rolling stone". what is the general attitude of neighbors or friends or people in the city?. >> guest: almost everybody i know was horrified by donald trump and that dichotomy is not hard to figure out if you look at the map was ted peabody that lives in the big city votes democrat in between is republican and the maps are incredible this sea of red with little dots of blue all over the country and we are to different countries right now seeing the world entirely different purpose
is to travel in one circle the lots run into a lot of trump supporters and i certainly don't yet that contributes to why we did not see it coming because most of those who work in the media for the most part they like shows like the wire and they watch movies with subtitles and each ethnic food. they don't watch nascar purple is a cultural difference. i think it will be difficult for those to america's to have an exchange with each other. >> host: are their family members that were trump's supporters?. >> i do have some family members but they have been conservatives for quite a long time.
there r.h. a couple of people i know who did not vote this time and that was a little bit shocking. and that i think spoke to some frustration of the democratic party. those that were not voting democratic anymore but in terms of people suddenly became trump's supporters i don't know. do you?. >> now from arizona with your recent article issued by venezuela $0.32 on the dollar you refer to the president as a dictator i was shocked you would use the word dictator the same characterization of the venezuelan president and that it has been used ever since chavez.
>> i did have some push back, that. i have not lived on it -- lived in south america i know those who covers of american politics minder standing is the canceled elections and has been acting in the undemocratic way but there is room for me to learn on that issue i will have to go back and look. >> calling from scottsdale arizona. >> caller: thinks for being on the show. to questions, how did we get from a presidential
candidate like gary hart to donald trump? that seems like a huge leap to me in the second question is what is your take on president obama? i know that you voted for him but the problems that we're facing now, i know a number of them festered under his administration and for years he did not deal with them like syria, racial divide which is as bad as it has ever ben, isis, i don't know if he was afraid that what is your take? a white him as a human being but i don't know if as a president he really did anything. >> guest: i wrote a piece on obama right after the election and i have been critical of barack obama the
last eight years mostly on the subject i covered for most of his presidency with corruption of the financial-services sector. he does not have a great record their his administration was mostly not winning a single conviction against any senior level executive with the 2008 financial crisis for grosso i was critical of that did not like the fact that he ran as the economic progressive and then when he was elected basically he prodded people from city group to run his transition team like timothy geithner, eric holder and the assistant attorney general at that time. they were corporate lawyers who had worked for wall
street and all the banks were their clients and that came through with the enforcement decisions. so just in terms of that i was critical of obama but with reflection i think history will look back on him in a favorable way. not necessarily because of his policy ideas but they do think he was a disappointment to a lot of people in a lot of various -- areas whether guantanamo bay or the drums but his demeanor composure, and unwillingness to give into the anchor and not give up
on segments of society and was impressed what he said after the election by criticizing hillary clinton that even in places i knew i would lose sight continued to try to reach people in rural iowa instead of losing by 50 i a only lost by 20 so he wasn't saying only strategically but basically we just cannot give up on being one whole country he still tried the matter how bad the abuse was so with this horrible rhetoric. he never took the bait and made that divisive or vicious so now somebody like
trump is president where everything is a twitter war within 10 seconds the impact the national character going forward for a whole generation and i think the example obama set out to carry yourself was important even if by a do not agree with what he did policy wise . so i do admirer barack obama and he carried himself very well and a nearly impossible situation although i didn't always agree with his positions. >> host: california gore had. >> caller: i am so happy i get to speak to you. so i just want to say say that for -- things to say that about roger ailes.
there is always sell lovell of viciousness. i am older but it is just like they were so locked in may could not talk about anything. and also thanks for helping me with my thinking to affect a whole nation like that day after day with these reporters spouting such mean things that is not always accurate but the question is why do we need health insurance companies? between cancer and medicare medicare, say child we just went to the doctor there was
no issue of insurance. so why do we need them that take trillions of dollars?. >> guest: it has been awhile since i covered that subject but i do remember that looking at the comparison of cost because america's health coverage by far we have the most expensive health care in the world compared to other industrialized nations in with the vast majority goes to a couple of areas like paperwork and profit that is a waste to the american health care system so you could solve the paperwork problem by having something like the single payer health care system with some uniformity of billing and paperwork and collections read now i remember visiting
a hospital in new jersey and i think subsequently has shut down where half of the administrative staff was chasing collections because they were dealing with so many different health insurance companies and had to do so much work to get to the point where they were trying to collect that it sat on their bottom line and eventually went out of business i believe. that makes no sense to me and of course, the profits in this area and a stand the company's behalf to make money for providing a service but if half of that is profit doesn't make sense to meet either it is not an area that is really clear within the american system it is the most rational and logical in the world but one
of the things i enjoyed about russia when i got sick and would just walk into a doctor's office. the doctors there did not have the best equipment were always the best medicine that they would see me. and that is something this generation is growing up without with the idea that health care is something that you have for right to. but in terms of roger ailes ailes, i agree a lot of people have said the same thing that they lost family members over the years because their father or mother would watch television all day long to become increasingly is angry and bitter and unable to talk to their friends and relatives any more. so the way we consume media
now and fox is the pioneer in made it impossible for people with political differences to be friends. that is a shame. i don't remember when that matters when i was a kid but now it means everything. >> host: did the rolling stones a sign you the financial be to or did you ask?. >> i believe what happened is after the presidential election of 2008, i cover that we did one story that was about ag if i remember correctly and that was very difficult because i had to understand.
i didn't know anything and had to learn what the collateralized debt obligation was so that it be a long time that we did it then we had such a huge response because financial media was written by people catering to those in the finance sector. so the idea to translate for regular people how wall street works is a new thing and has never been done before. we just kept doing it and it turned into eight years of work. but he was great during the entire time. i don't think there are any editors that would allow them to do that many features about mortgage fraud or how foreclosure works because they are keen
and difficult topics they don't sound sexy and it is hard to sell advertising but he let me do that for a long time. it was great and that is all you can ask for in an editor to support you that way. >> host: your most recent book "insane clown president". michigan you are on the air. >> caller: hello. i have been reading the articles in rolling stone i seen some response -- a resemblance from the nixon campaign was the influence of yours?. >> guest: yes.
hunter thompson was an influence of mind every political reporter in the country grew up reading his books. one of the of typewriter -- high points of my entire career i could write the introduction that was a huge owner for me. i remember when i was 15 years old my father took a road trip from new york to key west all we did the whole way down was read hunter thompson out loud in the car. i love the way he wrote almost like a four dimensional writer. and he had his own language he invented his own strange language and i was fascinated.
i try not to copy him but it is hard not to because they cover the same stuff sometimes i fall into those patterns but i did grow up also reading h.l. mencken and terry southern and a lot of russians over the years. there are other writers that i read that were journalists . i talked to him on the phone once. i was assigned a publishing company asked me to do a
compilation like a book about gone so were journalism so i was young at the time i needed the money source started to do it so i chose a bunch of articles that i thought that the tradition but then i started to come up against the problem that all gone so journalism meant was thomas's a light that i cannot do this about his consent so i called him up and he said that is a crappy project. he said how bad you need the money? by said pretty bad he said i cannot be a part of it but good luck so he gilted me out of doing it.
since then i have met a lot of people who knew him well. he took my call at least. >> i found "insane clown president" at the library. reading them together was quite interesting had you ever read "amusing ourselves to death"? so what are you currently reading and any recommendations for the summer? so one of the things we do is ask the guests what they are reading or what has influence them and here are the responses that matt taibbi gave us.
>> host: matt taibbi usa couple of books as your favorites. who was scooped and why is he on your list?. >> a very funny british writer a satirist i think his books have a quality to them like lot of british writers of that johnna he has incredibly witty dialogue also gramm green is another of my favorite but
his books are so beautifully structured and economical that's every line is tight there is no wasted motion in any event and is hilarious start to finish so a book every foreign correspondent carries on his or her personal over the world and it is a great story. a guy with a gardening column and a british newspaper and by accident is dispatched to cover a the civil war in the middle of africa and it is the of misunderstanding the influential person asks for somebody by that name but the sphinx he is a gardening
columnist it is hilariously funny and he is a great model for satire in general with a panoramic view of the entire human experience and on top of that in terms of his craftsmanship was incredibly polished type of writer said he checks of the boxes for me. >> host: have you read "anna karenina" in russian?. >> yes. i know how that sounds because it is such a big book but one of the great things about tolstoy, i realize that sounds so pretentious but even in translation it comes through
he has this rare gift for the powerful simple sentence that he finds the absence simplest way to communicate the most complicated thoughts and his prose has a pulsating force that will pick up speed over time. and even in bin russian my russian is good but not fantastic but he uses simple words and structure in a way that's i think it is gorgeous because i think there are some russian writers to have the opposite quality like sandusky. he was a big fan of these
huge sprawling sentences that are crammed with a subordinate clause is difficult to follow. there are two different ways to achieve the same thing but tolstoy a simplicity is beautiful and amazing and a genius. >> host: you are a fan of the footnotes?. >> yes i was more of the method growing up that used to have those huge along run on sentences for the parentheses and i thought it was cool to force "the reader" to do a little bit of work on the way to get to the punch line or to the point with the footnotes to take the various journey on
a the way for gore used to do that much more now try to go to the other way with a simple declarative sentence to use fewer adverse and subordinate clauses. >> host: can't we disagree more constructively is on your list. >> guest: he is a professor here in new york city i believe and just because i have been really depressed by american politics lately and i think the partisan nature of it has become so angry and hungry deeming it is the opposite like when i read a political book firmly i feel better about life but now most of the time it is a
bunch of people denouncing other people. so is there another way or is there anything that is happy? and it is all about another approach and why can't we have big a deal is any more? that doesn't necessarily mean that i am agreeing with him but it is somebody that has a different approach to politics. >> host: matt taibbi is our guest on booktv the
just came out this year and want to ask you about "the great derangement". could you explain what this is about?. >> i have a confession to make not something that is easy to explain after today's a constant distraction of songs and worship and praise that meant the un and the regime of forced responses the funny thing started to happen. >> guest: i was under cover i guess it was a little spin like instead of
trying to reverse myself and this apocalyptic church down in texas it is dave meggett church where they believe the end of the world is coming and they were a rapture centuries the rug up faster was a big supporter of john mckean i was interested in that mind set so to do that i had to craft a persona and joined the church and i went away on retreats and learned the printer's than did the stuff and i think that is the section i talk about how i started to like it after a while and that was the key insight for me that there is
a soothing quality to all of these rituals. it was the worst part of my life but then after five weeks i was getting into it and then i felt i have to get out of here. it was an interesting moment of was trying to explain how people can fall for something that on the outside seems ridiculous but they take people who are vulnerable going through difficult things in their lives somewhere simplistic but it provided comfort. >> host: california go-ahead. >> caller: i have been a long time follower and also
of matt taibbi power regarding the last thing he addressed of enjoying the church as a social psychologist speaks to that and of course, marketers know very well how the brain works. i am 80 years old and a volunteer with the community radio non-commercial station and i am wondering if he has a suggestion about a community radio across the united states. we provide the alternative voice in san diego to the news that we hear constantly hear but he said we should
be seen as the truth in reporting news but i am wondering how? as you go on a speaking tour and talking about the trumpet administration with trump himself when nbc a personal view for those who read what that newsperson rights, has written can we see the truth ?. >> guest: that is a good question. the question of how do you get at the truth, so for community radio to answer that part, have never worked
in radio before but i do think local media is making a little bit of a comeback saw that is through internet based media like a podcast that takes ideas and that is one thing that is great it is relatively low-cost like the 12th part series of local issues if it is a local scandal orate a crime orate a trial and it is interesting to your listeners because it is in their neighborhood of you can use storytelling techniques you can make characters out of people that is one of the cool things of new media as much
as i have been critical of its fracturing, we always have new innovations and ways to tell stories so fire was community radio i would be excited about what i could do to make that ruling reality show about a local trial brief even a local little league team or anything. he would have not thought to do this 40 or 50 years ago or even as a talk-show but now you can do sophisticated storytelling or undercover i would try to be as creative as possible with that and
take a vantage of the fact you are local and that is the way to compete with the national media you know, those characters so that is the advantage that you have. so as far as trying to be truthful, that is a huge metaphysical question but the best way to arrive at the understanding of what is going on is as many different sources as possible like i was trying to learn about wall street i would call 20 or 30 people and ask them the same question. what is the synthetic cdo?
or what happened with of lehman brothers bankruptcy? twenty-five of those stories would be similar so then you take a the common thread it is always up process when you figure out what is going on you will never get all whole unvarnished truth but you have to put it all to gather and read as much as possible. >> host: are you into podcast?. >> i may be starting one soon. it isn't quite ready but i am thinking about that. is cool and then the way to communicate with your audience and allows you to do a song different stuff with the work that i do it is pretty tough to do comedy
or book reviews and i think there's a lot of interesting things with that. >> host: middletown new york. >> caller: afternoon. i have a question and i could touch on just about every single thing but first your dad was my news guy. the first 25 years of my life. i spent many years in manhattan brooklyn but you are definitely your father's
son. but this last caller from the nonprofit radio what a caller 80 years old still kicking tail the you were mentioning you were at a trial and that is something i am dealing with is something that you touched on with the california welfare case with that benefit recipient those that our just reading those massive quantities or you familiar with the case in new york with that entire structure that involves criminal justice system are you familiar with that at all?. >> guest: no.
i am interested in that. >> host: he is not with us anymore but you talk about the fact it is much easier to get the slam dunk conviction but not take the complex case to court. >> guest: i heard this over and over from prosecutors. we get evaluated according to how many convictions we get. so will you take hsbc to court with the best lawyers in the world and it is not easy or take 50 drug dealers and get the win on all of them? then we throw them in the box and they confess or
go against the gigantic financial institutions but they have the best players in the world even when they are played the guilty it is extremely difficult to get a conviction. i covered a trial. it takes so long sometimes they can wait out the general system because they try to get within the statute of limitations. i covered the case of the municipal bond market they have the guys on tape they clearly had them but it took so long to get the case to court because they had to educate the jury with the jargon and had to defeat so many motions that by the time they went to trial the loss the defendants because they did not meet the 10
year statute of limitations. it is a difficult choice. you will lose a lot of the time but i did say symbolically you have to try because otherwise we will just take their money because it is too hard to take them to trial so we will take the check that it validates the jail as far as i am concerned. . .