FIRST ON FOX: Several members of his GOP Parliament of Justice Commission shared their thoughts on the fiery Twitter Select Subcommittee hearing held Thursday afternoon.
The hearing saw the Select Subcommittee on Equipment of the Federal Government ranking member, Del. Stacey Plaskett, DV.I., and Texas Democratic Rep. Sylvia Garcia asked whistleblower reporter Matt Taibbi to reveal his sources under oath.
Taibbi refused to share his sources during the subcommittee hearing, maintaining his position even after repeated attempts by both lawmakers to get him to crack.
‘TWITTER FILES’ HEARING AWAKES AS HE REFUSES TO REVEAL SOURCES IN HEATED EXCHANGE WITH DEMOKRAT
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who also chairs the select subcommittee, told Fox News Digital that the witnesses at the hearing were “just outstanding” and praised Taibbi and fellow reporter Michael Shellenberger as “sharp individuals”.
“But I think the bottom line is that Democratic members of Congress are asking reporters to reveal their sources,” Jordan said in a telephone call Thursday after the subcommittee hearing. “And I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything like it.”
“And that’s on top of what we learned earlier this week, the report that our committee did, which showed that … the first letter that the FTC sent after the original Twitter files on Twitter, the first question in that letter is : Who are the Four journalists named personally, two of them were the two witnesses we had today. And also within those questions were on Twitter about reporters, have you checked their background? So what’s going on; “
“If that’s not the weaponry of government, then I don’t know what is,” Jordan added.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee also criticized Garcia and Plaskett for pressuring Taibbi to reveal his sources.
“There’s something called the First Amendment,” Jordan said. “And that’s why we’ve been talking so much about the First Amendment because we believe it’s under attack, and you saw that belief confirmed today when you saw these Democratic members of Congress asking these questions.”
Jordan said his fellow Democrats’ questions asking a reporter to reveal his sources are “appalling” and noted that freedom of the press is one of the five rights enumerated in the First Amendment.
“I mean, it’s sad,” Jordan added. “It should scare the Americans.”
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who sits on the select subcommittee, told Fox News Digital that he was “disappointed but not surprised that so many Democrats today have shown contempt for both free speech and a free press, when they demanded from reporters Matt. Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger reveal their sources to open them up to censorship and harassment.”
“If America is going to preserve what sets it apart from the rest of the world and win the battle of our best ideals, censorship — especially by our government — must lose,” Issa said. “Once again, our arms select committee has kept its promise to expose this signature abuse of power and craft legislation to ensure it never happens again.”
New Jersey Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew also criticized Democrats at the hearing, telling Fox News Digital that what “we learned at today’s hearing, we already knew: Democrats don’t care about Americans’ First Amendment rights.”
“They don’t care that the federal government is involved in censoring individuals. They don’t care if our constitutional rights are eroded,” Van Drew said.
“It’s scary to think that there are members of the United States Congress who don’t disagree with Mr. Shellenberger’s statement, ‘I never thought this would happen in the US,'” referring to the federal government’s attempt to obtain personal ID cards, hon. journalists,” he continued. “Honestly, they embarrassed themselves.”
Rep. Troy Nels, R-Texas, applauded Jordan for holding “Thursday’s hearing to discuss the politicization of the federal government and attacks on civil liberties.”
“It’s clear that Big Tech companies are making content censorship decisions with an anti-conservative bias, including Twitter’s decisions to block a New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop in 2020 and to completely remove a sitting US president from platform,” Nehls said.
“I look forward to working with Chairman Jordan and the rest of my Judiciary colleagues to investigate these issues at the full committee level to ensure that these platforms can never again undermine our Republic,” he continued.
Sourcing was a sensitive issue during the hearing, as it had already come up when Taibbi was asked directly about his report on Twitter’s internal communications and allegations of government censorship.
Garcia asked Taibbi when he was first approached by Twitter owner Elon Musk to participate in the “Twitter Files” project, which allowed once-secret internal discussions to be exposed, revealing a range of issues.
Taibbi started to say he couldn’t divulge that information when Garcia insisted he just needed a date.
“I can’t give you that, unfortunately, because this is a matter of sources, and I’m a journalist. I don’t reveal my sources,” Taibbi said.
Garcia said it’s not about the source but rather the chronology, but he disagreed.
“No, that’s a matter of sources,” Taibbi said.
The Texas Democrat continued to press the issue.
“You said earlier that someone had sent you a message over the Internet about whether or not you would be interested in some information,” Garcia said.
“Yes, and I referred to that person as a source,” Taibbi replied.
Garcia asked, “So you’re not going to tell us when Musk first approached you?”
“Again, Congressman, you’re asking a reporter to reveal a source,” Taibbi said.
Garcia asked if he considered Musk to be the direct source, but Taibbi was not amused.
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“Now you’re trying to make me say he’s the source, I can’t answer your question,” Taibbi said.
Garcia said the “only logical conclusion” is that Musk is a source, but Taibi told her she was “free to conclude” whatever she wanted.