Matt Taibbi leaves First Look Media (And this time he means it!)
Following an earlier report in New York Magazine that Matt Taibbi had taken a "leave of absence" from Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, Omidyar has now confirmed Taibbi's permanent departure.
In a statement published on FirstLook.org, Omidyar writes:
I regret to announce that after several weeks of discussions, Matt Taibbi has left First Look. We wish him well.
Our differences were never about editorial independence. We have never wavered from our pledge that journalistic content is for the journalists to decide, period.
Omidyar's reiteration of his lack of interference in the editorial of First Look is somewhat jarring given it's Omidyar himself making the statement about Taibbi's departure, not First Look editorial director Eric Bates.
It also jars with NY Magazine's reporting:
Omidyar originally conceived of First Look as a network of interlinking sites run by "independent" journalists, many of whom took a similarly adversarial approach to journalism. Over the last year, however, the center of gravity of the organization has shifted, as Omidyar and his Silicon Valley braintrust have exerted control over budgets and vacillated over the journalistic mission. Over the summer, Omidyar appointed a longtime confidante, John Temple — a former newspaper editor who previously led an Omidyar-financed civic journalism venture in Hawaii — to be the president for audience and products, putting him in a position above Eric Bates, the former Rolling Stone editor who was brought on as a First Look editorial director, who is close to Taibbi.
Still, it's unlikely the true story will remain unreported for long. A tweet from New York Magazine contributing editor Andrew Rice made clear that his earlier story was only the first of a longer investigation into First Look, with the remainder believed to be coming later this week.