Cataloguing Taibbi's Errors - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Cataloguing Taibbi’s Errors

Yesterday I noted one giant error in the opening of Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone piece on the Obama economic team, but demurred from cataloguing the rest of the piece on the grounds that it is “truly too convoluted and half-baked to critique here, except to say that that Taibbi better have been high when he wrote it.”

Well, Tim Fernholz of The American Prospect, bless ‘im, did the spade work and fact-checked the rest of the piece. What he found was a series of mistakes and inaccuracies so damaging that the piece literally could not have passed must at an average college or even high school paper. Here’s a taste:

  • Jamie Rubin. James P. Rubin is a former Assistant Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration and not Bob Rubin’s son. He informally helped Hillary Clinton transition into her role as Secretary of State. James S. Rubin is Bob Rubin’s son, and had a similarly unofficial role in the economic transition. Neither were on staff, on the advisory boards, or on an agency review team.
  • Austan Goolsbee “didn’t make the cut.” Goolsbee remains one of Obama’s key economic advisers and has the president’s ear from his posts on the National Economic Council and the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. He skipped transition work and went to work immediately in those posts.

Fernholz has a lot more. But he misses quite a lot, and doesn’t even get into the larger problems that go beyond errors of fact: the piece is chock-full of conspiracy theories, false narratives, shoddy and selective reporting, and also bad writing. Rolling Stone would be better off retracting the whole thing in the next issue, if that’s even possible.

Although I notice that the glaring problems with the piece haven’t prevent the Huffington Post from pimping it at the top of the site.

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