The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
Yet on Tuesday, the latest round of the Twitter Files reporting revealed that the federal government had requested that more than 250,000 Twitter users be suspended. This reportedly included Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff wanting reporter Paul Sperry kicked off the platform.
27.They also received an astonishing variety of requests from officials asking for individuals they didn’t like to be banned. Here, the office for Democrat and House Intel Committee chief Adam Schiff asks Twitter to ban journalist Paul Sperry: pic.twitter.com/SXI1ekqi13
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 3, 2023
Schiff, again, a member of Congress, sought to “abridge” the freedom of at least one member of the press.
One can argue that he merely made a request, which was originally denied though Twitter did suspend Sperry eventually. But when the federal government “asks” a private individual or company to take action, looming over that “request” is the threat of punishment or coercion by the state. It is exactly the kind of authoritarian behavior the First Amendment is supposed to guard against.
Hell, the entire concept of a free press is that reporters challenge and question the government. Schiff appeared to not like Perry’s reporting so he tried to get Twitter to shut him down.
That’s an indirect, and arguably even direct, violation of a reporter’s constitutional liberties. The Constitution is a document all members of Congress swear to uphold. And Schiff walked all over it.
Schiff and his fellow Democrats constantly talk about “threats to democracy” pointing rightward, only at conservatives and Republicans. ‘January 6’ will be a mantra for the rest of their lives.
The January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill riot was unquestionably an embarrassing day for the country. But it’s also embarrassing for the US to have members of Congress intentionally trying to stifle the speech or press freedom of American citizens. That’s the sort of tyranny the Founders intentionally wanted to avoid when they crafted our nation’s governing charter.
Despite lots of politicians’ wolf-crying, there really are actual threats to democracy. One of them is Adam Schiff.