The newly formed House Subcommittee on the weaponization of the federal government conducted a meeting on Thursday that was marked by heated exchanges between members of the panel. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) disproved a false allegation from Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY) that no direct government censorship of any lawful speech has occurred.
Jordan revealed an email from Biden White House officer Clark Humphrey dated January 23, 2021, that directly requested Twitter to remove a tweet about former baseball star Hank Aaron’s death after taking the coronavirus vaccine. Jordan pointed out the tweet contained only lawful speech clearly protected by the First Amendment.
Rep. Daniel Goldman (who bought a congressional seat) says "you cannot find actual evidence of any direct government censorship of lawful speech."
Rep. @Jim_Jordan then pulls out an email from the White House to Twitter asking them to censor a tweet from @RobertKennedyJr. pic.twitter.com/HEsr3rQC5E
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 9, 2023
The hearing featured prominent journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, who testified on how the federal government uses major social media platforms as middlemen to regulate speech through censorship.
Taibbi and Shellenberger testified that Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other companies developed a formal system for taking in moderation requests from every corner of government, from the FBI, DHS, HHS, DoD, the Global Engagement Center at State, and even the CIA. The journalists exposed how public opinion is manipulated by the government through censorship campaigns designed to pressure Big Tech companies to promote the official narrative.
Rep. Jim Jordan: "Are you trying to get journalists to expose their sources?"
Congresswoman Plaskett: "No"
Rep. Jim Jordan: "It sure sounds like it" pic.twitter.com/yTIA0rRIjr
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) March 9, 2023
Democrats Get Destroyed As They Try to Downplay the Findings from the #TwitterFiles
"No, my understanding is [this committee] is concerned about the weaponization of the government against free speech, which is certainly what we're finding"@Jim_Jordan @mtaibbi @elonmusk… https://t.co/ajONwW3QT9 pic.twitter.com/b0ELHk5wWF
— Chief Nerd (@TheChiefNerd) March 9, 2023
Democrats challenged the witnesses not with substance but by obstructing the proceedings and questioning the integrity of the reporters instead of the integrity of government censorship campaigns. The Democrats further attempted to intimidate the witnesses into revealing their sources.
Stacey Plaskett, the non-voting congressional delegate for the U.S. Virgin Islands who serves as the Democrats’ ranking member, interrupted Jordan nearly every time the chairman spoke, leading to repeated delays and distractions from the business before the committee.
Despite the onslaught of partisan accusations, Taibbi and Shellenberger testified on behalf of the value of free speech and warned the panel of the dangers of government censorship to a free society.
Shellenberger said, “The government no longer needs a predicate of calling you a terrorist or extremist to deploy government resources to counter your political activity. The only predicate it needs is simply the assertion that the opinion you expressed on social media is wrong.”
Taibbi shared his experience living in Russia when President Vladimir Putin came to power and how it motivated him to protect the First Amendment because the United States has the best protections for reporters in the world.