Election Post-Mortem: How Everything Came Up Trump

What should have killed Trump's political career, only made him stronger. Matt Taibbi marvels at Trump's immunity to scandal and baffling resilience to normal media strategies.

How many lives does Donald Trump have, wonders political correspondent Matt Taibbi. Trump’s scandals and embarrassments on the campaign trail were enough to bury any normal politician several times over. And yet, he survived. Taibbi attributes Trump’s immunity to the political kiss of death to what he describes as the sweet spot: Trump was able to satisfy the media's thirst for advertising dollars while simultaneously satisfying his campaign donors, despite his many incidents – a rarity. When a presidential candidate has an excruciating media moment (like Howard Dean’s 2004 scream) it’s normally the beginning of the end; the media circles in on them, public pressure mounts, and they are dropped. It was not so for Trump, journalists knew what to do with a politician, but not an entertainer. "He was sort of defying the usual laws of gravity and [the media] just didn't know what to do about it," Taibbi says. Matt Taibbi's most recent book is Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the American Circus.

Keep reading Show less

The Trump-Russia Dossier: What Was BuzzFeed Thinking?

The Trump-Russia dossier reads as though the inside of the Kremlin is a high school cafeteria where you can overhear amazing state secrets all the time, says journalist Matt Taibbi – that's just not the way the Russians operate.\r\n

On January 10, 2017, BuzzFeed published the ‘Trump–Russia Dossier’. The 35-page file of unverified information was collected by a former British intelligence officer and had been circulating behind-the-scenes amongst the media community for several weeks as journalists tried but failed to verify its claims. After CNN reported on the existence of the dossier, BuzzFeed published the document in full, acknowledging that its contents were unconfirmed and some parts outright erroneous, but believing that "Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government." Journalist Matt Taibbi weighs in on this ethical dilemma – should journalists participate in this kind of guessing game? Matt Taibbi's most recent book is Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the American Circus.

Keep reading Show less