Journalist Matt Taibbi on the need for change in American media


CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — There are plenty of choices when it comes to finding news and information in 2021, but veteran journalist Matt Taibbi says America’s media needs a transformation.

Taibbi is a former Rolling Stone columnist, a New York Times bestselling author and the host of the podcast “Useful Idiots.” He joined NewsNation on Tuesday to explain the changes in our country’s media landscape he believes would keep us more informed.

“The flaw in the system is that even the biggest news companies now operate under the assumption that at least half their potential audience isn’t listening,” according to Taibbi. “This leads to all sorts of problems… on all sides, we now lean into inflammatory caricatures, because the financial incentives encourage it.”

Taibbi believes the shift in the environment came in the 1970s and 80s. 

“We went from a model that was standard in the 80s and the 70s where there were just three networks, where it was normal for a news company to go for the entire audience. You were building a newscast that designed to be consumed by the entire family — whether it was your right-wing uncle or the teenage kid in the Che [Guevara] tee shirt. But with the advent of the internet and cable, the landscape became very atomized and fragmented.”

Taibbi says some media companies are choosing an audience and speaking almost exclusively to them.

“The new strategy stresses picking a demographic and trying to dominate it by picking news that you know they will like,” said Taibbi. “So the message went from something that was broad and designed to be consumed by everybody to being something that was highly charged and designed to animate a smaller demographic. And usually what that involves is giving them lots of content that’s provocative about some other group.”

You can watch Marni Hughes’ full interview with Matt Taibbi in the player above.

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