Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone reporter, author of Griftopia and relentless critic of the banking industry stopped by Reddit Thursday for an epic AMA, parlance on the social aggregation site for “ask me anything.”
Taibbi spent a bit of time interacting with Reddit’s vibrant community, answering questions and sharing anecdotes, giving users a bit more background as to how he’s gotten where he is now.
Taibbi’s AMA is worth a read (or you can cheat by going straight to his answers), but here are a few highlights from the thread.
On how to pronounce his last name:
On how to address some of the problems Taibbi covers in the financial sector:
“A great question that I struggle with a lot — normally, “What do we do about it?” isn’t really the province of reporters like me. But in terms of the stuff I cover, the obvious thing that needs to be done is that the banks need to be broken up; all of our major corruption problems stem from the Too-Big-To-Fail issue. How we accomplish that is of course problematic. There are two ways it gets done, legislatively and through prosecutions, i.e. the DOJ could charge a bank with something and then make breaking itself up a condition of its settlement. Or the state could legislate changes like the Brown-Kaufman amendment. Either way we need to elect people who recognize the problem and are willing to take those steps. Sentiment for this is growing.”
On being cynical:
“I get accused of being cynical a lot. I would say I’m the opposite of a cynic. A cynic is someone who recognizes that nothing changes. If I didn’t think changing things was possible, I wouldn’t be such a long-winded bore about the problems.”
On his RSS feed:
“I read a lot of odd stuff on the internet. I check on Zero Hedge pretty regularly, love Jeremy Scahill, I read Glenn Greenwald. Drew Magary is my favorite sportswriter. Lawrence Wright is cool (The Looming Tower was fantastic). I reread Seymour Hersh’s old books a lot — “The Price of Power” is always in my bathroom…”
And fascinatingly, the why of his investigative journalism — which sounds suspiciously like why we read his works:
“The thing is, I’m not an activist. One thing people don’t realize is that my primary attraction to the subject matter I write about is that it’s so interesting from a literary point of view — I mean the corruption is just so dark and disgusting, there’s something almost humorous about it, I’m very attracted to it as a writer. I also love the labyrinthine complexity of the scams. It’s kind of the perfect subject for me. On another level, it outrages my social conscience, but that’s secondary, if I’m being honest. So do a lot of other things — I mean, that business yesterday of the government giving itself the power to extralegally assassinate without evidence is monstrous. As an activist, there’s no shortage of crazy things to fight against. But to me, the most interesting problem is this financial cartel issue.”
Did you catch Matt Taibbi’s Reddit AMA?