Sit back while we try to manage the fire hose of news that spewed forth yesterday, much of it from hearings about the “Twitter Files” that took place before the Select Committee on the Weaponization of Government. Mostly we saw the desperate weaponization of select Democrats, and at times this was a laff riot!
During those moments, all that witnesses Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger could do was try to keep (fairly) straight faces while looking sideways at each other as the hearing room erupted into mayhem. If they hadn’t known their work had struck such a nerve with Democrats, they found out right away while sitting in the witness chairs.
I don’t think either of these individuals has ever before been accused before of being a partisan Republican, because neither of them ever has been. Taibbi spent decades at ROLLING STONE, for crying out loud. But just as Elon Musk is being mischaracterized as an ultraconservative Trump flak, so these journalists are as well.
So let’s start with one example of the craziness that went on during the hearings. When Democrat Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas pushed to get Taibbi to divulge sources, her circular logic conjured up images of a dog chasing its tail. She even asked him if he considered Elon Musk to be “the direct source,” which, of course, a journalist would not disclose. But other Democrats in the room chimed in with the same nonsense. Chairman Jim Jordan tried to bring the room to order while Taibbi and Shellenberger just looked at each other, appearing slightly amused, as if to say, “Can you believe this (BLEEP)?”
We linked yesterday to Taibbi’s opening statement, which had been submitted in advance to the committee. In case you didn’t get a chance to read that, here it is.
Here’s a preview of Taibbi’s testimony, earlier Thursday from FOX NEWS.
Taibbi’s statement referred to “some surprises” planned for the morning of the hearing, and he must have been talking about his new “Twitter File” that dropped just before the committee convened. It focuses on the highly politicized “scam disinformation industry” that has come into existence in just the past decade, dubbed by him and Shellenberger the “Censorship-Industrial Complex,” some parts of which are funded by tax dollars.
We’ve recently discussed some of the participating groups, such as the Global Engagement Center (within the State Department) and the Soros-funded Global Engagement Index (in Britain). What they call “disinformation” is really just anything that creates an obstacle for their leftist political agenda. It’s a gigantic fraud, with purported “disinformation experts” in quasi-government organizations deciding what opinions could and could not be expressed and censoring facts that actually were the truth.
Sometimes they even acknowledged the truth of these facts but justified censorship by saying the “consequences” of this “malinformation” might be bad, such as creating “vaccine hesitancy” --- or losing an election, as the FBI was very active with these groups in mid-2020.
THE GATEWAY PUNDIT has Taibbi’s new thread, with some helpful comments to guide you through. For a real chill, scroll down and read the tweets starting at 14, about the Aspen Institute.
GOP Rep. Dan Bishop talked about the danger posed by the Global Engagement Center. A must-watch; less than two minutes.
Now, here’s Shellenberger’s opening statement.
Shellenberger made the general point that “today, American taxpayers are unwittingly financing the growth and power of a censorship industrial complex, run by America’s scientific and technological elite, which endangers our liberties and democracy.” He said he was there to “sound the alarm over the shocking and disturbing emergence of state-sponsored censorship in the United States of America.”
“I do not know how much of the censorship is coordinated, beyond what we’ve been able to document,” he said, “and I will not speculate. I recognize that the law allows Facebook, Twitter and other private companies to moderate content on their platforms, and I support the right of governments to communicate with the public, including to dispute inaccurate information. But government officials have been caught repeatedly pushing social media platforms to censor disfavored users and content.”
It goes on, but these are not the words of a partisan, only of a true professional who cares about the First Amendment. Shellenberger’s points could not have been stated more reasonably. Yet Democrats on the committee were out of their freaking minds.
Glenn Greenwald, in his podcast on Rumble, praised Taibbi for shedding “all-new light on the scam disinformation industry --- a nefarious network of government-funded groups with benign-sounding names that claim to protect you from disinformation all while working hand-in-hand with the U.S. security state and Big Tech to disseminate their own disinformation campaigns and to censor dissent from the Internet.” That pretty well sums it up.
Greenwald’s podcast offers a good report on what happened during the hearings today. Of course, as he said, “Most of the day was consumed by Democratic members of that committee hurling invective and vitriol at the two journalists who broke most of those stories,” treating them as “traitors.” That’s because “this reporting has exposed the corruption of Big Tech and the U.S. security state, the two entities the Democratic Party most passionately and aggressively serves.” (And, I would add, vice versa!)
Democrats “rely on this censorship regime,” he said, “for their own interests.”
Two other designated Democrat attack dogs in the hearing were Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands. It was a bad look for them both, especially when Plaskett called the accomplished reporters Taibbi and Shellenberger “so-called journalists.” Taibbi replied with an impressive list of his credentials, and Greenwald made the hilarious point that she’s the “so-called” congresswoman, as the Virgin Islands lacks statehood and Plaskett doesn’t even have a vote.
The hearing, Greenwald observed, “got quite rambunctious and ugly today.” That’s for sure. (If you have a Rumble account, you might want to check out his nightly podcast, “System Update.”) He’s not exaggerating --- all the Democrats could do was try to assault the character and motives of these two journalists, ginning up hatred against them for the “crime” of exposing the FBI, the CIA and Big Tech. These witnesses, along with Elon Musk, are learning firsthand how Democrats deal with their enemies. They go all out to destroy them.
That’s especially true when they have nothing else. You know the old saying: “If you have the facts, argue the facts. If you don’t have the facts but have the law, argue the law. If you have neither the facts nor the law, pound the table.” There was a lot of table-pounding yesterday. And after it was over, the Republicans on the committee said Democrats had “embarrassed themselves.” That’s not just partisanship talking --- they really did.
After a lead-in Thursday night in which Tucker Carlson featured video of Plaskett’s infantile behavior --- accusing Taibbi and Shellenberger of “posing a direct threat to people who oppose them” --- he brought on Shellenberger, who called it “a very disturbing event” and discussed his findings. He says there’s “much more” that they’re still discovering. But we do know this: that the U.S. government has taken the same influence operations it uses in countries around the world and turned it on American citizens. A must-watch…