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Democrats Think Government Should Decide Who Is A Journalist And That's Pretty Anti-American
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Journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger are testifying before the House Judiciary Committee's Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government today. Both journalists were involved in the 'Twitter Files' disclosures, in which we learned that the government was directly involved in censoring disfavorable speech.
"Our findings are shocking," writes Shellenberger at his blog. "A highly-organized network of U.S. government agencies and government contractors has been creating blacklists and pressuring social media companies to censor Americans, often without them knowing it."
Ahead of the appearance, Taibbi released his prepared remarks. He also dropped a new and related Twitter Files mega-thread on 'THE CENSORSHIP-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX' which will be submitted to the Congressional record which, according to Taibbi, 'contains some surprises.'
But Twitter was more like a partner to government. With other tech firms it held a regular “industry meeting” with FBI and DHS, and developed a formal system for receiving thousands of content reports from every corner of government: HHS, Treasury, NSA, even local police.
Emails from the FBI, DHS and other agencies often came with spreadsheets of hundreds or thousands of account names for review. Often, these would be deleted soon after.
Then we saw "disinfo" lists where evidence was even less clear. This list of 378 “Iranian State Linked Accounts” includes an Iraq vet once arrested for blogging about the war, a former Chicago Sun-Times reporter and Truthout, a site that publishes Noam Chomsky.
We came to think of this grouping – state agencies like DHS, FBI, or the Global Engagement Center (GEC), along with “NGOs that aren’t academic” and an unexpectedly aggressive partner, commercial news media – as the Censorship-Industrial Complex.
Who’s in the Censorship-Industrial Complex? Twitter in 2020 helpfully compiled a list for a working group set up in 2020. The National Endowment for Democracy, the Atlantic Council’s DFRLab, and Hamilton 68’s creator, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, are key.
As one might expect, the Judiciary hearing on the "weaponization" of federal agencies, featuring Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger as witnesses was full of fireworks, facts, and ad hominem friction.
Out of the gate, Ranking Member Democratic Del. Stacey E. Plaskett labeled the two "so-called journalists" as dangerous and a "threat" to former Twitter employees.
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, had a simple response to her accusations:
“It’s crazy what you were just saying.”
“You don’t want people to see what happened,” Jordan continued.
As Glenn Greenwald chimed in from Twitter: "To Democrats, "journalist" means: one who mindlessly and loyally endorses DNC talking points."