Apr 10, 2021 • 49M

New Useful Idiots: Interview with Noam Chomsky, Why We Got Fired, Our Pro-Saudi Advocacy, and Abu Mohammed al-Jolani's Extremist Makeover

Why did Rolling Stone let us go? F**k around and find out

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Appears in this episode

Matt Taibbi
Useful Idiots is an informative and irreverent politics podcast with journalist Matt Taibbi and podcaster/writer Katie Halper. Episodes feature on-the-road coverage of the 2020 campaign and exclusive interviews, with humor, commentary and dissection of the politics news of the week. Join Matt and Katie as they examine important stories that have slipped through the cracks and what the media got wrong – and laugh about whatever is left to laugh about.
Episode details

Click here for the extended interview

“Like who the fuck is reading anything from Rolling Stone now?” asked Zac and Gavin, hosts of the Vanguard podcast, when pondering our mysterious — and completely unjust — firing at the hands of the iconic music magazine.

Katie and I would like to know the same thing. And, Zac and Gavin? We’re with you. None of it makes any sense to us, either.

“I just think it’s crazy that you as a company would have Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper in to do a podcast, and then a year in, it’s like, ‘Oh, they said something controversial!’” said Gavin, shaking his head. “Cause they already have that centrist bloc down. It’s like, anyone who goes to Rolling Stone for their news, they’re probably not a firebrand fuckin’ progressive.”

He went on. “I’m not gonna listen to Useful Idiots if it’s hosted by Ezra Klein, and Samantha Bee, or whatever the fuck.”

“Fuck Rolling Stone, basically,” added Zac.

Frankly, even if Rolling Stone tried to hire us back, we’d say no. We’re happy here at Substack. But with the help of shows like Vanguard, we’d like to build a groundswell of support, and make them beg. And this time, as Katie points out, we’ll go in “guns blazing,” and accept the job “on our terms.” It’s no secret that part of the reason we left was that the magazine shut down our plans to bring in Bashar al-Assad as a third host, and that was when he was willing to work for free.

Well, screw that. In order to even consider coming back, we not only want Assad, we want him at cost, plus one more full-time, adult salary. What do we need that for? Listen to the episode above and, as the flag on Gavin’s wall says:

Oh, and also: we interview some guy named Noam Chomsky (extended interview coming next week), and scrutinize the thrilling PBS interview of former al-Nusra/al-Qaeda leader-turned-very-handsome-man Abu Mohammed al-Jolani. Katie taps her beard-crit background, while we both investigate the two most important questions of our time: which four goateed male celebrities combined look like one PBS interviewer Martin Smith, and why do I keep thinking Smith is British?

All that, and more, in this week’s free episode of Useful Idiots.