Republican Jim Jordan claims there was a “cosy relationship” between the government and big tech and claims the FBI made plans to censor Hunter’s laptop in hearing of Twitter Files journalists
- “Never in my life did I think that freedom of speech in my country would get such an attack as it did here,” said journalist Michael Shellenberger.
- “The internet is a tool of censorship and control, and our government seems to play a central role,” said Matt Taibbi in opening statements
- It’s digital McCarthyism,” Taibbi told the government censorship committee
The House panel examining the federal government’s “armaments,” reported in the “Twitter Files,” got off to a fiery start Thursday as the Republican-led hearing began with a series of sniper attacks between Rep. Jim Jordan and the Ranked Member, Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D Virgin Islands).
The witnesses, including Substack journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, were given access by Elon Musk to review “voluminous” volumes of internal Twitter communications about potential working relationships between social media companies and government agencies.
In his opening statement, Taibbi told the panel that he attracted great public interest when the first “Twitter Files” reports came out.
“My computer looked like a slot machine because the first tweet about the Hunter Biden laptop story blockade alone registered 143 million impressions and 30 million engagements.”
Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, left, speaks at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill, February 9, 2023, in Washington
Twitter has been accused of having a cozy relationship with government agencies.
Taibbi caught the attention of millions of viewers with the first episode focusing on Twitter’s internal discussions that led them to censor the Hunter Biden laptop during the 2020 presidential election as some officials tried to explain it was against policy of ‘hacked material’.
“We learned that Twitter, Facebook, Google and other companies have developed a formal system for accepting ‘requests’ in moderation from all corners of government: the FBI, DHS, HHS, DOD, the State’s Global Engagement Center, even the CIA.’
Taibbi wrote, “Making such lists is undeniably a form of digital McCarthyism.”
“We just saw this with the Covid lab bug theory. Many of the institutions we are now examining initially labeled the idea that Covid came from a lab as “disinformation” and conspiracy theory. Apparently even the FBI is taking it seriously. ‘
“The First Amendment, and an American population accustomed to the right to speak, is the best defense against the Censorship-Industrial Complex,” he wrote.
“If there’s anything the Twitter files show, it’s that we’re in danger of losing this most precious right, without which all other democratic rights are impossible.”
Michael Shellenberger’s testimony warned that “the industrial censorship complex” will have a dangerous impact on the First Amendment.
“I’m giving some warnings. I don’t know how much of the censorship is coordinated beyond what we’ve been able to document, and I won’t speculate. And I support the right of governments to communicate with the public, including to challenge inaccurate and misleading information. But government officials have repeatedly been caught pushing social media platforms to censor unfavorable users and content.”
“Government no longer needs the designation of calling you a terrorist or extremist in order to use government resources to counter your political activities. The only predicate it needs is simply the claim that the opinion you expressed on social media is wrong.”
This story will be updated.
Independent Journalist Matt Taibbi Testifies Before the House Committee on the ‘Twitter Files’
President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden leave Holy Spirit Catholic Church on Johns Island, SC House Republicans first requested documents from Hunter and James Biden related to foreign business transactions.
Hunter Biden’s laptop left at a computer repair shop – its contents are up for debate, but almost everyone agrees it was devastating