Investigative journalist Matt Taibbi, who rose to fame for his hard-hitting reports on American financial institutions and politics before joining Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and the other members of the new venture The Intercept, talks with Larry King about one of America’s dirty little secrets.
The focus of their conversation is Taibbi’s new book, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap.
Here’s how journalist Hedrick Smith describes Taibbi’s work in a review for the Washington Post:
In 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. warned that “mortgage-fraud crimes have reached crisis proportions.” He vowed bravely to fight back, but the Justice Department’s inspector general recently reported that, in fact, Holder’s department has made Wall Street crime its lowest priority and that, since 2009, the FBI has closed 747 mortgage-fraud cases with little or no investigation.
No wonder, writes Matt Taibbi, a reporter known for exposés in Rolling Stone on the banks’ rigging of financial markets. In “The Divide,” Taibbi offers the searing indictment that America’s wealth gap has corrupted the nation’s system of justice, fostering a “legal schizophrenia” that harshly prosecutes the poor but practices selective leniency on Wall Street. After “the greatest crime wave in a generation,” the Obama administration’s failure to jail top bankers, Taibbi contends, shows that the United States now lives by a hypocritical double standard — “letting major systemic offenders walk, bypassing the opportunity for important symbolic prosecutions and instead . . . putting the smallest of small fry on the rack for negligible offenses.”
Taibbi is a relentless investigative reporter. He takes readers inside not only investment banks, hedge funds and the blood sport of short-sellers, but into the lives of the needy, minorities, street drifters and illegal immigrants, to juxtapose justice for the poor and the powerful. How can it be, he asks, that a street drifter such as Tory Marone serves 40 days in jail after cops find half a reefer in his pocket, but not a single executive of HSBC faces criminal charges after the bank “admitted to laundering billions of dollars for drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia, washing money for terrorist-connected organizations in the Middle East, allowing rogue states under formal sanctions by the U.S. government to move money freely by the tens of billions through its American subsidiary, [and] letting Russian mobsters wash money on a grand scale”?
Nuff said. And now, on with the show:
From RT America:
Politicking: Matt Taibbi on America’s ‘Injustice System’
Journalist Matt Taibbi joins Larry to examine inequality in the U.S. justice system. In his new book, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, Taibbi says white-collar criminals walk, while the poor get locked up in record numbers.