Matt Taibbi and Andrew Ross Sorkin Trade Barbs


“I’ve been trying not to say anything bad about Andrew Ross Sorkin,” Matt Taibbi writes about the perky business desk blog whiz at the New York Times. “I even made a point of not watching Too Big To Fail so as not to get upset.”

But maybe Andrew Ross Sorkin does not like to be ignored.

“The vampire squid haters won’t like this column,” Mr. Sorkin wrote on Dealbook on Monday, before defending Lloyd Blankfein’s infamous statement, made before a Senate subcommittee, that Goldman Sachs “didn’t have a massive short against the housing market.”

In his column, Mr. Sorkin conducts “further reporting — talking with executives at Goldman, who pointed me to other documents, and with officials in Washington, and then poring through the report, following the footnotes to the original sources and then cross-referencing them against other public records” – such a busy, busy bee! He then concludes that Mr. Blankfein did not lie.

Or rather, Mr. Blankfein did not lie about the size of Goldman Sachs’ bet. “This isn’t meant to say that part of the firm didn’t go short,” Mr. Sorkin insists. “It did and the firm has repeatedly said so. But the suggestion that the short was a huge directional bet by the firm to profit off a real estate collapse may not completely stand up.”

Mr. Taibbi responds by pointing out that Goldman Sachs is a major sponsor of Dealbook, then lays out his take on Mr. Sorkin’s findings, which is that the relative sizes of Goldman’s long and short positions are not really what has people questioning Lloyd Blankfein.

“The issue is that Goldman was heavily long, got heavily short, and in the process screwed lots of people out of lots of money, and committed lots of fraud along the way,” Mr. Taibbi writes. And he can’t help but conclude with the following:

Sorkin took a little shot at me in his piece, saying that ‘the vampire squid haters won’t like this column,’ implying that anyone who disagrees with his analysis is a hater.’ But I don’t dislike his column because I hate Goldman. I just dislike it because it’s wrong, on top of being a soft-touch take on a major issue based on material spoon-fed to him by an advertiser who’s just been handed a bunch of subpoenas. Aside from that, of course, it’s just fine.

Matt Taibbi and Andrew Ross Sorkin Trade Barbs