Matt Taibbi, an independent journalist, and Mehdi Hasan of MSNBC sparred on Thursday over the Twitter Files and Hunter Biden’s laptop. The discussion began after Hasan questioned Taibbi’s recent appearance before Congress, where he refused to reveal his sources despite Democratic Texas Rep. Sylvia Garcia repeatedly demanding answers.
In response, Taibbi reminded Hasan that MSNBC was one of several outlets that dismissed the Hunter Biden laptop as Russian disinformation. Hasan then questioned Taibbi as to why he met with Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Jim Jordan. Taibbi defended himself, arguing that Democrats are more of a threat to free speech than Republicans.
Hasan then played a clip from Taibbi’s 2021 appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience where he said that as a journalist, once you start getting handed stories, it’s a bad line to have crossed. Taibbi denied crossing the line, saying that the stories are self-contained and in the public interest.
“The stories are self-contained stories that hold up in themselves and what I was talking about in the Joe Rogan story, I was quoting a passage from Seymour Hirsch’s book ‘Reporter’ when he was talking about when he was given a story by the CIA about an Israeli spy that they had caught and he was saying something to the effect of I who had always gotten the material, was being handed the material. So yeah, look, it sounds bad, but this stuff is clearly in the public interest, it’s real, it’s true and I’m doing the best I can to report it.”
Hasan then brought up a tweet from October 2020 where he appeared to dismiss the importance of the laptop. Hasan later tweeted in December 2022 that it wasn’t a “liberal media conspiracy to suppress” the story because both Fox and the Wall Street Journal initially turned it down.
Taibbi concluded by saying that the stories surrounding Hunter Biden’s laptop will hold up over the test of time, unlike the “fake Russian hit stories” that were reported on by MSNBC. Hasan ended the segment abruptly after Taibbi accused him of putting words in his mouth.