Welcome to the era of state-sponsored thought police
Reprinted from Bracing Views with the authors permission.
Yesterday, journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger testified before the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. Their testimony, and the risible reactions of Democrats on the subcommittee, are well worth watching; I watched the entire hearing, which lasted 140 minutes. Kim Iverson has an excellent summary here which lasts about 23 minutes. As Iverson notes, the Democrats on the subcommittee demonized the journalists while supporting censorship of ordinary Americans for political advantage, a clear violation of freedom of speech and the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Clearly, the Twitter Files have revealed government-directed censorship of lawful speech. The reactions and strategy of the Democrats on the subcommittee were as follows:
To smear the two journalists who volunteered to appear before Congress as so-called journalists; as being biased witnesses in favor of the right (even though Shellenberger testified hed voted for Biden, and Taibbi described himself as a traditional ACLU liberal); as having the basest of motives, such as taking payments and otherwise profiting from their journalism; and of being willing or unwilling dupes of Elon Musk.
To repeat, again and again, that Russia massively interfered in the 2016 and 2020 elections, therefore government-directed efforts to suppress foreign interference in US elections was both legitimate and praiseworthy.
To associate Elon Musk with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, and other alleged bad actors, thereby suggesting that the Twitter Files are tainted and compromised by foreign information ops and influence.
To defend the FBI and other government agencies like the DHS and CIA as trustworthy and reliable defenders of truth as well as upholders of the First Amendment.
To suggest that the journalists involved posed a direct threat, e.g. to workers at Twitter, not the federal government or powerful corporations like Twitter itself or Facebook.
To imply the subcommittees purpose wasnt about free speech at all; that its purpose was purely political and intended to advance right-wing agendas.
Specific to the Hunter Biden laptop story, one Democrat implied the hard drive could have been altered, thus calling into question the validity of emails and other data on that drive.
To change the subject by accusing Republicans of being worse offenders since theyre trying to ban books; also that Donald Trump is worse because he jailed one of his opponents.
Not one Democrat on the subcommittee expressed concern about the peril of state-sponsored censorship and suppression of free expression. Indeed, the Democrats took pains to portray the journalists in front of them as the real peril, along with Russia, Elon Musk, Republican book- banners, and other bad actors.
It was all rather amazing, a shit storm to quote Kim Iverson.
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