The Daily Caller News Foundation Harold Hutchison on March 9, 2023
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Democratic Rep. Daniel Goldman of New York sparred Thursday over allegations surrounding censorship by government agencies.
“We’re here talking about Twitter. Twitter,” Goldman, a former counsel for the first impeachment of then-President Donald Trump, said during a hearing by the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. “And even with Twitter, you cannot find actual evidence of any direct government censorship of any lawful speech. And when I say lawful, I mean non-criminal speech.”
Thursday’s hearing featured testimony from journalists Michael Shellenberger and Matt Taibbi, who made multiple reports based on documents released by Tesla CEO Elon Musk after Musk closed his purchase of Twitter. The FBI reportedly paid Twitter $3.5 million between October 2019 and February 2021, according to Shellenberger.
The office of Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California pressed Twitter to censor a post mocking then-Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden after then-President Donald Trump re-tweeted it, according to documents provided to Taibbi. The State Department also pushed for censorship of posts that promoted the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a lab, Taibbi reported.
“I’d ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the following email from Clark Humphrey, Executive Office of the Presidency, White House office. January 23rd, 2021, that’s the Biden Administration, 4:39 A.M., ‘Hey, folks,’ — this goes to Twitter — ‘Hey, folks wanted to’ — I use the term Mr. — they use the term Mr. — Mr. Goldman just used — ‘wanted to flag the below tweet, and then wondering if we can get moving on the process for having it removed, ASAP,’” Jordan said, noting that the targeted tweet was from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a left-wing environmental activist and opponent of vaccines.
Documents released by Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry of Louisiana Friday included an April 14, 2021 email from White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty to an unidentified Facebook employee asking why videos questioning vaccines made by Fox News host Tucker Carlson and commentator Tomi Lahren had not been subjected to “reduction.”
“The First Amendment does not — is not absolute,” Goldman said.
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