US Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, hosted a discussion on the Twitter Files with Matt Taibbi and Michael Schellenberger, two of the journalists who received access to Twitter’s private documents from CEO Elon Musk and have reported to the public their findings about censorship and corruption.
And all we can say is if it walks like a duck– and quacks like a duck… and if bullies like a Democrat… then the government IS in fact weaponized against the people, especially against journalists who want to tell the truth. The power our congresscritters feel they have over us was on stark display at the hearing.
Some of the exchanges between the journalists and Congress got nasty, where Rep. Dan Goldman played coy about the nature of the censorship on Americans, as he got argumentative:
Then two Democrats ganged up to escalate a fight. They proved they are weaponized against the people in one short exchange which got a lot of attention, while two female Dems attempt to harass Taibbi over his possible connections with Musk:
Of special focus on Thursday was the way in which Musk, an American citizen, has been the focus of a pressure campaign to keep Twitter posters under control.
Testimony showed that Mush was under a redirect on his ownership of the mega social media platform, as he wanted to increase the freedom for the posters.
The hearing was for the purpose of investigating the claims made and questions raised in the MARCH 7 REPORT titled :
“THE WEAPONIZATION OF THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION: AN AGENCY’S OVERREACH TO HARASS ELON MUSK’S TWITTER”
According to the Executive findings in the report:
Freedom of speech is among the most important rights guaranteed to every American. Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter last year served to revitalize this fundamental freedom in the digital age. Now, in wake of this acquisition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is orchestrating an aggressive campaign to harass Twitter and deluge it with demands about its
personnel decisions in each of the company’s departments, every internal communication relating to Elon Musk, and even Twitter’s interactions with journalists. These demands have no basis in the FTC’s statutory mission and appear to be the result of partisan pressure to target Twitter and silence Musk.
The House Committee on the Judiciary, through and with its Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, is charged with investigating “violations of the civil liberties of citizens of the United States.”
As part of this responsibility, and consistent with the Committee’s oversight responsibilities of the FTC, the Committee has been conducting oversight of the unusual response by the FTC to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter last year.
While the Committee and its Select Subcommittee continue to investigate these issues, this interim staff
report fulfills the Committee’s ongoing obligation to identify and report on the weaponization of
the federal government.
The Committee recently obtained new, nonpublic information that falls directly within the Committee’s mandate to investigate and report on instances of the federal government’s
authority being weaponized against U.S. citizens. Consisting of over a dozen FTC letters to Twitter that—in the span of less than three months following Musk’s acquisition—make more than 350 specific demands, this information shows how the FTC has been attempting to harass Twitter and pry into the company’s decisions on matters outside of the FTC’s mandate.
The timing, scope, and frequency of the FTC’s demands to Twitter suggest a partisan motivation to its action. When Musk took action to reorient Twitter around free speech, the FTC regularly followed soon thereafter with a new demand letter.
The ostensible legal basis for the demand letters—including monitoring Twitter’s privacy and information security program under a revised consent decree between the company and the FTC4—fails to provide adequate cover for the FTC’s action. A number of the FTC’s demands have little to no nexus to users’ privacy and information. For example, the FTC has demanded that Twitter provide, among other things: (See List at Link)
The strong inference from these facts is that Twitter’s rediscovered focus on free speech is being met with politically motivated attempts to thwart Elon Musk’s goals. The FTC’s demands did not occur in a vacuum. They appear to be the result of loud voices on the left—including elected officials—urging the federal government to intervene in Musk’s acquisition and management of the company. The FTC’s harassment of Twitter is likely due to one fact:
Musk’s self-described “absolutist” commitment to free expression in the digital town square as the report found that Musk had been harassed since announcing his intentions to purchase Twitter.
Fox News reported on the heated exchange from above and wrote:
Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia, D-Texas, was accused of badgering journalist Matt Taibbi into revealing a source on Thursday during a heated House Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Twitter Files,” but the reporter wouldn’t budge.
Sourcing was a sensitive subject as it had already come up during the hearing when Taibbi was asked directly about them regarding his reporting on internal Twitter communications and accusations of government censorship. Garcia asked Taibbi when Twitter owner Elon Musk first approached him to partake in the Twitter Files project, which has allowed once-secret internal discussions to be exposed, revealing an array of issues.
Taibbi began to say he couldn’t reveal that information when Garcia insisted she simply needed a date.
“I can’t give it to you, unfortunately, because this is a question of sourcing, and I’m a journalist. I don’t reveal my sources,” Taibbi said.
Journalist Matt Taibbi refused to reveal a source during a heated House Judiciary Committee hearing on Twitter Files. (Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
Garcia said it’s not about the source, but rather chronology, but he didn’t agree.
“No, that’s a question of sources,” Taibbi said.
The Democrat from Texas continued to press the issue.
“You earlier said that someone had sent you through the internet, some message about whether or not you would be interested in some information,” Garcia said.
“Yes, and I referred to that person as a source,” Taibbi shot back.
Garcia asked, “So you’re not going to tell us when Musk first approached you?”
“Again, congresswoman, you’re asking a journalist to reveal a source,” Taibbi said.
Garcia asked if he considers Musk to be the direct source, but Taibbi was not amused.
“Now you’re trying to get me to say that he is the source, I can’t answer your question,” Taibbi said.
Garcia said the “only logical conclusion” is that Musk is a source, but Taibbi told her she was “free to conclude” whatever she wants.
“You can’t have it both ways,” Garcia said when House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, intervened.
“He can, he’s a journalist,” Jordan said, causing other members to bicker.
Several members spoke over each other angrily as Ranking Member Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin islands, who had a similar exchange with Taibbi earlier, declared that if Taibbi wouldn’t comment on Musk, it must mean the Twitter owner was the source in question.
“He’s not going to reveal his source and the fact that Democrats are pressuring him to do that is such a violation of the First Amendment,” Jordan snapped.
Earlier in the hearing, Taibbi was asked by Plaskett who gave him access to the emails revealed in the Twitter Files, but he refused to say.
“The attribution for my story is sources at Twitter,” he said.
Jordan then asked Plaskett if she was trying to get journalists to reveal their sources, but she denied the allegation.