Matt Taibbi Declares John Podesta’s Risotto Recipe Was “True”

The Democrats on Jim Jordan’s insurrection protection committee were really unprepared for Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger yesterday, failing to call out their repeated false claims.

One of the most interesting details came when Taibbi described that someone besides Elon Musk invited him to have unfettered access to a company under a consent decree. Given the likelihood that this person was not even a Twitter employee, it gives the FTC far more reason to want to know why a company under a consent decree made information on individual users available to journalists.

But the hearing was nevertheless useful for the way it revealed that Taibbi doesn’t know the difference between “authentic” and “true.” In an exchange with Stephen Lynch about whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election (in which Lynch falsely claimed that the intelligence report attributing the Russian campaign to Russia involved 18 intelligence agencies, instead of three, and mispronounced both Shellenberger’s and Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s name), Taibbi professed to be uncertain whether Russia conducted a hack-and-dump campaign.

Lynch: Do you believe that Russia engaged in a hack-and-release campaign damaging to the Clinton campaign, back in 2016?

Taibbi: I don’t know and I would say it’s irrelevant.


Lynch: Mr. Shellenbech [sic] do you believe that the Russians engaged in a hack-and-release campaign with respect to the damaging information they released regarding the Clinton campaign?

Shellenberger: To the best of my awareness, that is what happened, yes.

Lynch: Okay, fair enough.

Shellenberger: That’s not the same thing as influence campaign.

Lynch: I understand.

Taibbi: Also that material was true. That is not a legitimate predicate for censorship.

Taibbi obviously thought he was being very clever, justifying publishing material stolen from an American because it was “true.” (And Shellenberger was being equally clever, not understanding that a hack-and-leak campaign is, indeed, part of an information operation.)

But instead, he betrayed something that is obvious from his propaganda efforts: Taibbi doesn’t understand the difference between “authentic” and “true.” When someone makes false claims about authentic material, it is a lie.

For example, Taibbi has repeatedly claimed that the FBI was not building cases on the suspected voter suppression accounts they turned over to Twitter, even though he included a screen cap showing the FBI taking steps — asking in what venue they needed to serve legal process and seeking a preservation order — that allows them to conduct an investigation.

The email is authentic. His claims about FBI’s efforts to investigate voter suppression are — he himself proved — a lie.

He also betrays that he doesn’t understand some of the material released in 2016 was neither “true” nor “authentic.” Not only were the Guccifer 2.0 documents altered, but the persona repeatedly falsely claimed they were something they were not, most obviously when the persona claimed he was releasing Clinton Foundation documents and I had to explain that that’s not what they were to Glenn Greenwald.

That persona did just what Taibbi has done with the Twitter files, wow credulous people (like Greenwald) with “authentic” files, while making false claims about them.

#MattyDickPic’s confusion about the difference between “true” and “authentic” became more obvious later in the hearing.

Goldman: Are you aware that there was an analysis of the hard drive that was done by the Washington Post at a later date?

Shellenberger: My awareness is that multiple media organizations have done an analyses, including CBS, and found that it was indeed, the laptop was authentic, and that nothing had been changed on it.

Goldman: Let’s just get something clear. The laptop that the FBI had is different than the hard drive that Rudy Giuliani gave to the New York Post. A hard drive, you will agree with this, is a copy of a laptop, right?

Shellenberger: Yes.

Goldman: And you are aware that hard drives can be altered, are you not?

Shellenberger: Of course.

Goldman: So are you aware that the Washington Post analysis of the hard drive showed that it had been altered?

Shellenberger: I have heard that, but I’m also saying that CBS verified —

Taibbi: Politico …

Shellenberger: and other media organizations have verified…

Never mind that Shellenberger seems to have no fucking clue that the laptop CBS analyzed is not the same hard drive that Rudy gave to the Post, and therefore is not the “laptop” on which the story that Twitter throttled was based. Never mind that CBS’ analysis is inconsistent with John Paul Mac Isaac’s claims that the process by which he made his own copy of the laptop was repeatedly interrupted, a problem that would make it difficult to distinguish from an iCloud hack and a real laptop (who puts voice mail messages on a laptop hard drive, for example?), a detail consistent with what I know of the Washington Post analysis (which was conducted by two different people).

But the cutest was little #MattyDickPics chiming in to claim that Politico had authenticated “the laptop.”

They claim no such thing! They authenticated some files (and not forensically, but instead by a witness who couldn’t even confirm the emails hadn’t been altered).

Shreckinger’s source remembered viewing both emails but was not able to compare the text leaked to the Post with the original emails. Other emails from the leaked files matched a cache of emails released by a Swedish government agency, two people who communicated with Hunter Biden said.

This kind of “authentication,” when the claims of someone with a bias like Tony Bobulinski can supplant forensic authentication, is precisely the problem with hack-and-leak reporting, regardless of whether Russian hackers or Matt Taibbi’s buddies do the hacking.

And neither Michael Shellenberger nor Matt Taibbi understand that.

Matt Taibbi does not know the difference between “true” and “authentic,” and it shows in his propaganda.

35 replies
  1. Savage Librarian says:

    I didn’t know what Matt Taibbi looked like until now. But the first Russian/Soviet leader I was aware of as a child was Kruschev, who left a distinct impression on my psyche. The coincidental resemblance between the two men surprised me. Something tells me that Taibbi’s true calling might be as an impersonator, but I think he would struggle at coming across as authentic.

    • Tom-1812 says:

      Well do I recall those scary TV ads showing Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on his desk at the United Nations while an ominous voiceover declared: “This man has said he will bury us and that our children will be Communists!”

      But actually, Tucker Carlson has examined the original footage and will be releasing a more accurate, re-edited version of the incident that clearly shows Khrushchev was only trying to squash a big hairy spider that had crawled up onto his desk.

      • Doctor Cyclops says:

        The man whom Khrushchev interrupted with his shoe caused the Assembly to erupt into laughter when he asked, “Could I have that translated?”

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Ha! Just thinking about him scared the “h”s out of me, apparently. Thanks for the spelling assist. It reminds me of a story a coworker once told me about his 5 year old daughter having a nightmare and waking up screaming. When he asked her about it she sobbed, “There’s “h”s under my bed and they’re going “huh, huh, huh!”

        • Tom-1812 says:

          It’s surprising how many words you think you know until you go to spell them. The other day I spent about 15 minutes trying to spell “perjorative” until I finally figured out it was “pejorative”.

      • Theodora30 says:

        I remember how scary it was when Khrushchev pounded his shoe on the desk. Ironically he turned out to be far more reasonable than he wanted us to believe. He destroyed his political career by making a deal with JFK to cool down the Cuban missile crisis instead of escalating it as his — and our — generals wanted. I was amazed to learn that Krushchev had agreed that JFK could quietly remove the Jupiter missiles we had installed in Turkey near the Russian border at a later date. We all knew that Khrushchev had “caved” by removing Russian missiles from Cuba not that it was a quid pro quo.

        • LaMissy! says:

          The agreement between Krushchev and JFK to remove the missles from Cuba was the end of the relationship between Castro and the Soviet leadership. The big fellas agreed between themselves without ever reading Fidel in. Castro realized he’d been played.

    • ExRacerX says:

      If he wasn’t such a nozzle, I might feel for Taibbi, but he COULD simply shave his head & avoid the “horseshoe or skullet?” decision entirely—face it, neither is a winning option.

      • Estragon says:

        To me, he looks like Mr. Krueger, George’s boss who gets invited to Festivus. He had a longer arc, great character. The actor who portrayed him met with a tragic end as I recalll (dimly?)….

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      Interesting. To me, the Russian leader Taibbi looks most like is Mikhail Gorbachev — but without the birthmark.

  2. Peterr says:

    The list of things Matt Taibbi does not understand grows by leaps and bounds every day.

    That he gets paid for not understanding things is something *I* do not understand.

    • bmaz says:

      “The list of things Matt Taibbi does not understand grows by leaps and bounds every day.”

      Has for years!

      • Willis Warren says:

        Looking back on his work, it seems like populist humor writing. I’m not sure he ever held any deep political beliefs. His legal knowledge bordered on complete fantasy. He’s one of those writers who thinks insurance companies don’t pay on suicide, builds a great story, and never learns or admits he got everything wrong.

      • Hope Ratner says:

        Plus, while he was a *reporter* based in Russia, Taibbi was a misogynistic sex harasser…..boorish from the get go.

  3. Wire Nut says:

    > (who puts voice mail messages on a laptop hard drive, for example?)

    I do. Or more specifically, I receive my work voice mail as email messages, which has the side effect of placing voice mail on my laptop and backups.

  4. Richard Turnbull says:

    The chain-of-custody issues with that laptop are something the wingnuts want to ignore, but everyone can see it matters. When you can’t even demonstrate the emails haven’t been altered, modified, weaponized, what have you got in terms of admissible evidence?
    Compare Warren Commission exhibit CE 399, the so-called “magic bullet.” It’s not at all clear that the same bullet allegedly found on what might have been Governor Connally’s stretcher in Dallas was the same one examined by the FBI in Washington, D.C. hours later.

    • P J Evans says:

      Even better, it’s a hard drive that they *claim* is from Hunter Biden’s laptop. With zero chain of custody, because there’s no proof it was ever in his laptop, or that the one that arrived in that repair shop was ever in Biden’s laptop, or that he was the person who left it there.

      So that whole thing is a no-there-there invention.

      • Shadowalker says:

        Not only that, but the smoking gun China connection email was from May 2017. Who was VP then? If that is illegal, they can lock up anyone who does foreign business by leveraging government contacts starting with Rudy Giuliani.

  5. Rugger_9 says:

    One thing that hindered the Ds was the refusal of Gym Jordan to give them the prep materials prior to the hearing. Some Ds were able to get a few jabs in, such as Debbie Wasserman-Schultz getting Taibbi to admit he didn’t follow his own words regarding being spoonfed, and Connolly getting Schellenberger (and Taibbi IIRC) to admit their ‘research’ didn’t include 45’s attempts to influence the platform. At least Connolly left out Teigen’s comment as a verbatim item. They were not alone.

    • Matt___B says:

      Usually with the MAGAts, the phrase “there’s no bottom in sight” applies. To your comment, I would have to add “the ceiling of incompetence cannot be seen yet”. They’re all capable of doing worse than they are now, believe me. This will only change when the Titanic of the MAGA base starts to slowly change course. I think more than a handful of them need to fall over the proverbial cliff edge before that happens…

  6. Willis Warren says:

    Does it even occur to him that believing a Russian hack and leak campaign is worse than any crime in the hacked materials?

  7. Willis Warren says:

    its good

    [Important: Have you changed your email address? Please confirm by using your previous email address in your reply. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Willis Warren says:

      That wasn’t me

      [This is why the 8-letter minimum unique username is being implemented — it’s too easy for users to be spoofed. Please let us know if you see any activity going forward which uses your name but you know you have not published. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  8. FL Resister says:

    Dan Goldman, freshman representative from NY, did an admirable job in the hearing as Charles Pierce writes in Esquire on March 9th:

    “ But the real meat of the hearing came right at the end, when Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.)— whose presence in the House has already proved invaluable—finally called bullshit on the whole proceeding. Goldman had had enough of it, pointing out how galling it was to watch the party of book bans and the pursuit of the deadly threat of drag shows pretend it was a serious defender of the First Amendment.”

    Goldman was brilliant as Aaron Rupar (@arupar) showed in a bunch of Goldman clips he posted on his Twitter feed yesterday. I liked him in the impeachment hearings and I like him even better in the House of Representatives.
    Dan Goldman is bringing the heat and knows of what he speaks.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Thanks for bringing up Goldman’s contributions. His legal mind, demeanor, and intellectual quickness add so much value to the Democratic side that I renounce my previous disappointment at him running for Congress. I was afraid he would get lost in the freshman backwater. The opposite seems to be true–in large part thanks to GOP nonsense that has put him, Colin Allred, and Stacey Plaskett on such a public stage.

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