One congressional Democrat seemed unprepared for the response she received after she implied that Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi wasn’t really a journalist.
"This isn't just a matter of what data was given to these so-called journalists before us," House Ranking member Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) said at last week's Twitter Files hearing. Plaskett directed her comments at independent journalists Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger who each testified at the hearing. Taibbi, the first journalist to report on the Twitter Files, immediately responded by reminding Congress of his list of credentials.
"Ranking Member Plaskett, I'm not a so-called journalist," he said during the hearing. "I've won the National Magazine Award, the I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and I've written 10 books, including four New York Times bestsellers." But Taibbi didn’t leave it at that. He responded once again in a Racket News Magazine article Friday.
In his article, Taibbi wrote that Democrats could not care less about free speech and were only concerned with pushing their own agenda.
“The Democrats made it clear they were not interested in talking about free speech except as it pertains to Chrissy Teigen, seemed to suggest a journalist should not make a living, and finally made the incredible claim that Michael [Shellenberger] and I represented a ‘direct threat to people who oppose them.’” he wrote. “Of all that transpired yesterday, this was the most ominous development — perhaps not for me but for reporters generally, given our government’s recent history of dealing with people deemed ‘threats.’”
The Democrats on the committee also pressured Taibbi to reveal his sources. “Who gave you access to these emails. Who was the individual that gave you permission to access the emails,” Plasket asked Taibbi. She later followed up asking “Did Mr. Musk contact you Mr. Taibbi?”
In his article, the award winning independent journalist characterized the ordeal as “a bizarre collective display of a whole group of politicians not understanding some pretty basic things about how not to act around journalists.”
Plaskett later claimed on Twitter that none of the Democrats asked Taibbi to reveal his sources, but Taibbi repeated her own words back to her.
“Your direct quote was, ‘Who gave you access to these emails?’” he responded.
MRC Free Speech America reported on the bombshell hearing last week.
Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) referred to the “censorship industrial complex” and referenced reports that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sought the names of Twitter Files journalists from Elon Musk. "[There’s] this FTC consent decree where it is government action subject to rigorous scrutiny under First Amendment standards, government action demanding that your names be listed."
Fellow Twitter Files journalist Michael Shellenberger shared the sentiment, adding that the FTC’s demands targeting him were "chilling" and "disturbing."
“I never thought that would happen in the United States of America,” he added.
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