Matt Taibbi Talks Vampire Squid (Video)
Aug 3, 2009 at 11:40 AM
DailyBail in aig, bailout video, bailouts, banks, goldman sachs, goldman sachs, matt taibbi, rolling stone, wall street, wnyc radio



Entire interview can be heard here courtesy of WNYC Radio.

This clip is short and includes Matt's explanation of the hyperbole, which is important.  That was the first comment I made when I reviewed his Vampire Squid splurge in Rolling Stone last month.  His was a great piece.  If you're quibbling with the details then you're missing the point.  Here's what I wrote at the time:

In a general sense Taibbi got things right, as long as you understand his caveat that all of the investment banks and even hedge funds created, encouraged and participated in the bubbles he discusses.

Simply as an example, the internet bubble was inflated and kept alive most egregiously by Mary Meeker at Morgan Stanley, Henry Blodget at Merrill Lynch Frank Quattrone at CS First Boston and Maria Bartiromo of CNBC, though Goldman bankers and analysts were the lead underwriters and syndicate for many of the biggest internet and tech IPOS and secondary offerings of that era. So their hands are stained from each of the bubbles he describes. (Full Disclosure: As a fund manager from 97'-02', I traded all 300 or so of these internet companies and most of them exclusively from the short side, and I can testify first hand that these 4 individuals completely lost their minds. But of these 4, only Blodget has redeemed himself [with his work on behalf of taxpayers at his blog], and he alone should be forgiven.)

He lays it on pretty thick in some spots, which to be fair, is not completely accurate. But 90% correct for a non-financial reporter is pretty impressive. And it's nice for a change to hear things a bit over-exaggerated, but in our favor. So we'll take it.

And since Rolling Stone readers tend to be young music and pop culture fans, they're not going to remember the intricate details of Goldman's blood-sucking escapades anyway. The fact that readers are left with the overall impression that Goldman is mostly evil, is all that matters.

The beauty of Taibbi's work is a blended trifecta: he's not a finance guy (which he readily admits and which makes his writing easier to understand for the lay person); he has a huge audience at Rolling Stone (so people hear what he says--especially young people...the importance of which can not be overstated); and lastly that he gets it...he understands the importance of blasting these facts into the public consciousness. It's nice to have him on our side.

Oh and one more thing---the guy can freaking write. Witness his handiwork below:

The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

Any attempt to construct a narrative around all the former Goldmanites in influential positions quickly becomes an absurd and pointless exercise, like trying to make a list of everything. What you need to know is the big picture: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain — an extremely unfortunate loophole in the system of Western democratic capitalism, which never foresaw that in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.



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