UNHINGED: Democrat congresswoman calls to lock up this dissident reporter

This is a blatant attack on the free press.

In 2017, President Donald Trump called the mainstream press the “enemy of the people.” He would say similar things about the press throughout his presidency.

Naturally, many had a problem with this, particularly Democrats, because it seemed to reflect that the President of the United States didn’t understand the First Amendment. Legendary Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein summarized the feeling of many at the time, “Donald Trump is demonstrating an authoritarian attitude and inclination that shows no understanding of the role of the free press.”

Now, Rep. Stacey Plaskett shows she doesn’t understand the role of the press either. On Thursday, the Democrat congresswoman, who is technically a non-voting delegate from the Virgin Islands, threatened reporter Matt Taibbi with prison, accusing him of providing false information before a congressional committee during the Twitter Files hearings in March. She’s accusing him of lying under oath, which is a federal crime. 

Taibbi was one of a number of reporters who combed through the old communications data of the old regime at Twitter, given to the reporters by new owner Elon Musk. In those communications, the journalists discovered multiple examples of Twitter employees scheming to censor users, but more importantly, federal government agencies and even members of Congress actively working with Twitter’s staff to suppress and censor news and opinion.

In other words, the federal government was regularly violating Americans’ free speech. The kind of news reporters are supposed to care about. But that is not Plaskett’s top concern. It’s seemingly not even a concern for her at all.

What did Taibbi lie about, exactly, according to Plaskett?  Trying to find that information is elusive and confusing.

The Intercept’s Lee Fang noted that Taibbi’s alleged high crime was getting an acronym wrong, which has since been corrected.

Fang reported that it wasn’t just Plaskett but a number of congressional Democrats who have it out for Taibbi, writing at his Substack, “House Democrats have rallied in partisan opposition against journalists who have reported on revelations from Twitter’s internal files. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted that the entire oversight hearing about DHS influence into social media ‘was based on these errors,’ citing MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan. The lawmaker called the hearing a waste of ‘tons of public time and dollars.’”

It is worth remembering how Rep. Plackett framed the Twitter Files and the story’s reporters during the hearings, dismissively calling them as “so-called journalists.”

That Taibbi reported on revelations that the federal government and media were working together to censor citizens and tow the government line, and Congress not only ignored or dismissed it but seemed to APPROVE of such actions by the state was bad enough. Now they want to lock up reporters?!? That’s just next-level tyranny.

When Trump called the press the “enemy of the people” years ago, it didn’t hit me the way it did for most. I didn’t think it was productive for any president to talk like that, but I interpreted it as him saying the modern press more often works against “the people” by censoring or just ignoring news that might serve them, and instead focus more on reporting, protecting and promoting government narratives. How the COVID-19 pandemic was covered by the establishment press is but one example among many.

That’s basically what the Twitter Files revealed. Or, as Taibbi said in his opening statement on March 9th before Congress, “Effectively, news media became an arm of a state-sponsored thought-policing system.”

He added, “We learned Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other companies developed a formal system for taking in moderation ‘requests’ from every corner of government: the FBI, DHS, HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center at [the] State [Department], even the CIA.”

I would call such a press more of an “enemy” than an ally or advocate for the people. The more this unholy alliance between media and state becomes public knowledge, thanks to the work of legit journalists, the angrier it will make the people who are part of it.

So much that they might want to start locking up reporters.

Seth Stern, director of advocacy for the Freedom of the Press Foundation, told Lee Fang on Thursday, “Whatever one may think of Taibbi or his reporting on the Twitter files, baselessly threatening to imprison journalists is reprehensible, no matter if the threats are from Democratic members of Congress or Donald Trump.”


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Jack Hunter
Jack Hunterhttp://LibertyTree.com
Jack Hunter is a freelance writer, the co-author of Sen. Rand Paul’s 2011 book ‘The Tea Party Goes to Washington’ and the former politics editor for Rare.us.