Sperm Pie-Throwing Journo Terrorizes Kerry Press Corps
Continuing to bring you the best in penis-related campaign news, we learn a bit more about a controversy in the Kerry campaign. Specifically, Kerry correspondent Matt Taibbi once threw a pie of equine semen at NYT correspondent Michael Wines. So it's sort of fitting that he's covering the Kerry press corps, where his antics have included dressing up as a Viking and shoving cameras in reporters' faces.
Now, those reporters really should consider themselves lucky. But journos aren't the only ones upset: After Howie Kurtz wrote about Taibbi in his column on Monday, former Clark press flak Matt Bennett emailed Kurtz to lodge a complaint. (Read it after the jump.) He cited the sperm-tossing and Taibbi's Nation piece on Clark (which was not flattering). There's also something about some "ethical issue" in Taibbi's Nation piece. (Apparently, Taibbi had an opinion of Clark before he started writing it. Doesn't he get the pre-article lobotomy like everyone else?). Bennett sums up: "Taibbi is, to put it plainly, a nut and a hack."
Wonketteers can guess Wonkette's position on ejaculate in campaign coverage (more!) and could probably intuit our position on Viking costumes (stylish!). Still, it's probably true that "Matt Taibbi has no place in legitimate journalism."
We do, however, welcome his submissions to Wonkette.
Gonzo Guy? [WP]
From: Matt Bennett [mailto:XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX]
Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2004 2:13 PM
Subject: Your Piece on Matt Taibbi
Howard: As you may recall, I was Communications Director for the Clark Campaign.
Yesterday you ran an item noting that Matt Taibbi is now "covering" the campaign, in his way, for Rolling Stone. If you write about him again, I think it's worth noting that Taibbi wrote an excrecable story on Clark that appeared, much to the magazine's disgrace, in The Nation.
Taibbi is, to put it plainly, a nut and a hack. His hatchet-job on Clark stooped to the very lowest levels of journalism, violating a number of ethical standards along the way. Among other things, (as he freely admits in the piece) he posed as a volunteer on our campaign in New Hampshire and reported on what he saw and heard in confidence. He also misquoted and grossly distorted what other campaign volunteers said to him, using their names. These were not campaign spokespeople or officials -- they were sign-carrying, envelope-licking volunteers. To use them the way he did, without telling them he was a reporter and quoting them on the record, is shameful.
Moreover, this is the same "reporter" who, as editor of a loony ex-pat magazine in Russia called "the eXile", once hit NY Times correspondence Michael Wines in the face with a cream pie made of horse sperm. If you don't believe me, check this out:
Further perusal of the eXile makes clear why Taibbi had a vendetta against Wes Clark -- he was virulently opposed to the Kosovo War. For The Nation to hire him to write a cover on Clark with such well known predilections, and then to PRINT the story he wrote (with the aforementioned ethical issues), was inexcusable.
Matt Taibbi has no place in legitimate journalism. Rolling Stone should be ashamed of themselves for hiring or using him. Feel free to use any of this on the record if you write a follow-up.