Matt Taibbi, crusader against income inequality, reportedly paid $240k by First Look Media for publishing zero stories
In 2014, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar hired former Rolling stone editor Matt Taibbi to bring his barnstorming brand of muckraking journalism to First Look Media.
Forgive the mixed farming metaphor but it seems fitting given the amount of both bull- and horseshit that was spread around when just seven months later Taibbi quit.
The weirdest thing of all about the departure was the “fearless” Taibbi’s unwillingness to talk about it. How the man who in 2010 said “Hey, assholes: you do not work for the people you’re covering! Jesus, is this concept that fucking hard?” became the guy who in 2014 said “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t talk about [Pierre Omidyar] unfortunately… No matter what my feelings toward First Look Media, I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about my former employers.”
Now perhaps we know one of the reasons why. Cryptome has obtained what it says are First Look Media’s tax filings for 2014. In those documents, as required by law, First Look outlines the salaries of its highest paid executives. Some of the numbers will make your eyes water, especially if you’re toiling away at just about any other media company.
John Temple, the company’s most senior non-Omidyar director was paid a base salary of $275,309. That compensation is dwarfed however by that of Executive Editor William Gannon who took home… wait for it… $424,805.
But those were executives. Taibbi was just a regular editor and reporter. Also: in his entire seven month run at First Look he wrote and published a grand total of zero stories before before being forced out in less than friendly circumstances.
(By the way, according to payscale.com, the median salary for an editor at a US magazine is $41,000. For an editor in chief, that salary jumps to $61k.)
According to First Look’s own documents, Matt Taibbi’s total compensation was… $230,875 (plus $14,467 in “other” compensation).
For publishing absolutely nothing.
For more on how the top 1% of Americans are paid, I highly recommend the book “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap” by... Matt Taibbi.