On Thursday, Matt Taibbi (left) and Michael Shellenberger (right), testified before the House Select Subcommittee for the Weaponization the Federal Government. While they may not have much to say, it is important that the corporate media refuses to cover this story. Many Americans don’t know about the enormous scandals Taibbi, Shellenberger and other independent journalists revealed in the three-month period. “Twitter Files.”
The House committee should do these things to remove the veil of silence.
Americans should be introduced to Taibbi (and Shellenberger)
The majority of Americans don’t know much about Taibbi or Shellenberger. This allows the left to play its favorite game when confronted with difficult facts: Call the messengers members a right-wing conspiracy. The House’s Weaponization Committee should ensure that the public is aware of Taibbi and Shellenberger as not being conservative conspirators. “ultra MAGA.”
We trust that the witnesses from the majority party will make sure their opening statements clearly detail their conservatism. “credentials” — something Taibbi has attempted to do on Twitter, writing: “I’m pro-choice and didn’t vote for Trump,” And noting He’s an independent.
Taibbi’s coverage of politics for Rolling Stone his “incisive, bilious takedowns of Wall Street,” Past appearances as well “Real Time with Bill Maher,” “The Rachel Maddow Show” His work with Keith Olbermann and MSNBC are non-conservative credential Americans should hear.
Shellenberger’s biography also confirms his authenticity as a Trump-sympathizer or right-winger. Time Magazine named him “Hero of the Environment.” “In the 1990s, Shellenberger helped save California’s last unprotected ancient redwood forest, inspire Nike to improve factory conditions, and advocate for decriminalization and harm reduction policies,” his webpage reads — details helpful to highlight for the listening public.
If Taibbi’s and Shellenberger’s prepared testimony is missing these details, Chairman Jim Jordan should call the hearing to open it by asking witnesses to discuss their policy and political perspectives with the nation. Then push them for why the United States should be concerned about this. “Twitter Files.”
The witnesses and the committee need to remind Americans about the value of freedom of speech. It is because the country lost its sense of freedom of speech that Twitter was able to successfully take over censorship.
Help them tell a cohesive story
The next step is the questioning. Here is the problem: Most committee hearings fail here because politicians love to pontificate more than to ask probing questions. The case of the “Twitter Files,” Republicans have the ability to accomplish both. The witnesses already gave detailed answers to most of the country’s needs in almost 20 pieces they published during the previous few months.
The committee’s goal should be to give witnesses a forum to share their stories about the scandals. The ideal scenario is that the committee will guide the witnesses through their testimony like each paragraph of a book. Shellenberger, Taibbi, and Shellenberger would then be allowed to discuss the details.
You can start at the beginning, it’s the best place to begin
All members of the committee will want to concentrate on the most alarming discoveries such as Hunter Biden’s laptop story being censored and government demands that unapproved Covid messages be silenced. These events are only symptoms of the diseased free speech state Taibbi & Shellenberger discovered, which is the true threat to the country.
Democrats and independents will be more inclined to dismiss the hearings immediately as political theatre if Republicans flip to Covid messaging and the Hunter Biden laptop scam. These are both important aspects of the story. But Americans need to first get the context.
You can start by starting there. Elon Musk purchased Twitter. He gave Taibbi and Shellenberger access to their internal communications. How many communications were made available? How many emails were they able to access? What was the number? Is there anything else you can do?
There are buckets of scandals
But how will the story progress?
The committee was able to walk Taibbi or Shellenberger through their respective individual tasks. “Twitter Files” The best way to report scandals is to group them, as each story the journalist wrote had details that were similar or identical with other revelations.
Don’t forget: These scandals don’t just concern the victims “events,” For example, the New York Post blocked Hunter Biden’s laptop story. Rather, they go back to first principles — in this case, the value of free speech.
Twitter’s Massive Censorship Toolsbox
Move next to Twitter’s Taibbi “huge toolbox for controlling the visibility of any user,” The House committee needs to ask witnesses for more information about those tools. “Search Blacklist,” “Trends Blacklist,” “Do Not Amplify” Settings, limitations on hashtag searches and other details.
Which tools were they? Which tools were used most often and for what purpose? Twitter used those visibility filters in response to complaints by the government and other agencies? Are official accounts of the government ever subject to these filters? If not, how?
Next chapter will be about any coordination between Twitter government. The following is the continuation of this chapter. “Twitter Files” exposed the breadth and depth of government interaction with the tech giant — from FBI offices all over the country contacting Twitter about problematic accounts to, as Taibbi wrote, Twitter “taking requests from every conceivable government agency, from state officials in Wyoming, Georgia, Minnesota, Connecticut, California, and others to the NSA, FBI, DHS, DOD, DOJ, and many others.”
Internal communications are also possible showed the CIA — referred to under the euphemism “Other Government Agencies” in the emails — working closely with Twitter as well. Emails containing Twitter were also included. allowed The Department of Defense will run the covert propaganda operation “whitelisting” Pentagon accounts are used to keep the covert accounts out of being blocked. Multi-agency Global Engagement Center (located in the Department of State) also had a significant role in the government’s attempts to facilitate speech censorship.
The Trump and Biden administrations also reached out to Twitter, asking for the removal of certain posts.
The committee must list all government centers and agencies that were disclosed in order to keep the discussion coherent. “Twitter Files” Ask witnesses to describe how government-connected people or organisations communicated with Twitter. They will also tell you how they pressured Twitter and what types of requests were made.
It “Twitter Files” Detailled censorship requests from the government numbering in excess of tens or thousands. It will help to make this scandal even more personal by asking the witnesses for information about these requests, and the responses of individual Americans when they discovered they were Russian bots.
The non-governmental organizations involved in Twitter’s censorship should be questioned. The committee must then provide an overview of all the information revealed by Twitter. “Twitter Files,” Highlighting the involvement Various academic and non-profit institutions located in the “disinformation” The project includes the Election Integrity Partnership (which was home to the Hamilton 68 platform), Alliance Securing Democracy (which was also host to the Atlantic Council’s Center for Internet Security), and Clemson Univ.
Which role played these organisations? Did you review all communication related to these organizations? Are there any other nongovernmental organizations that communicated with Twitter users? What influence did these organizations have?
Disinformation about disinformation
Next, the story will continue with testimony on the legitimacy of various disinformation claims made to Twitter. Internal communications revealed that Twitter insiders suspected the Hamilton 68 dashboard was flawed. Others indicated Twitter experts thought the claims that Russian disinformation came from Clemson and other Atlantic Council Digital Forensics Research Labs, as well as the Global Engagement Center, were questionable.
These facts should be highlighted and the witnesses asked to expand on them, one organization at a time, in order to advance the story.
Next should be funding for these organizations. These organizations were funded often by the same handful of private companies as well as government grants. Here the Committee should ask Taibbi the status of his research on the financing of these organizations — something the journalist indicated last month he is delving into.
Taibbi suggested that the Global Engagement Center funding be considered in the next budget. Why? How can the House make future budget decisions without knowing these things?
Connecting the Censorship Complex dots
These details should be discussed and the committee can connect them as Taibbi did in his time. wrote: “What most people think of as the ‘deep state’ is really a tangled collaboration of state agencies, private contractors and (sometimes state-funded) NGOs. The lines become so blurred as to be meaningless.”
Read that quote — and other powerful ones from either the emails or the journalists covering the story — to the witnesses. Staffers should hopefully already have the top quotes prepared and available for tomorrow.
Please explain your meaning, Mr. Taibbi. Is this what you mean? “state agencies”? Which NGOs are you referring to? Are you a Mr. Shellenberger in agreement? Which governmental and non-governmental actors did you identify as being involved?
How did the media play a role?
Asking the witnesses about the media’s involvement will then close the circle on the big picture, which is ironic given the press’s role in circular reporting — something even Twitter recognized. Hamilton 68 and the Global Engagement Center would release Russian disinformation to press, politicians and Twitter. After Twitter reviewed the accounts and found them not to be concerning, the politicians relied on media coverage to support the disinformation claims and press Twitter into responding. Even though Twitter informed reporters and politicians that the disinformation methods were not available, media continued to regurgitate claims about Russian disinformation.
It is difficult to understand how journalists reacted when Twitter advised reporters not to use the Hamilton 68 data base. Twitter’s exact words? Are there similar warnings for media regarding the Global Engagement Center data?
Specific Examples of Censorship
Next, the committee will focus on specific cases of censorship. The Hunter Biden laptop case and Covid debates deserve top billing.
While Republicans may be most interested in the story of the laptop being censored, this hearing by the committee is not the appropriate place to bring the Biden clan’s pay-to–play scandals to trial. Americans must understand four important points. The Laptop was Real, it was known by the FBI, it was a real device, warnings from the FBI to Twitter and other tech titans led to the Post being censored and legacy media became complicit in suppressing the story. The key to understanding why Twitter chose not to publish the story is having witnesses.
Highlighting the Covid debates’ censorship offers an opportunity to bridge the political divide and convince Americans that media-government relations are threatening everyone’s freedom of speech. This point will be affirmed by pointing out that Twitter was censored by both Trump’s and Biden’s administrations.
The committee should start by summarizing the various Covid topics considered verboten — the virus’ origins, vaccines, natural immunity, masking, school closings — and then stress that the science now indicates the speech silenced was correct. It will highlight specific Twitters and the medical professionals that were removed from the platform. Then, the committee should ask witnesses for their explanations. This will expose the true-world consequences of the Censorship complex that governs American debate.
What are our options?
It is time for the committee to close. Shellenberger and Taibbi should take turns asking questions: “Where do we go from here?”
It “Twitter Files” The government and its allies were not content to limit their Twitter efforts, but instead censored other platforms and pushed for new policies. “cottage industry” Already, disinformation is being launched. What is the best way to make sure Americans are listening? What can we do to ensure the government doesn’t manipulate or censor the truth?
How can we protect our Constitution if that same Censorship Component which restricts speech on social media is able to cancel alternative news outlets?
However, this last question does not apply to tomorrow’s witnesses. For every American.
Margot is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. National Review Online, Aleteia and Townhall.com are also contributors to Cleveland. She has been published in USA Today and Wall Street Journal. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. Later, she served as a seven-year term law clerk on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for almost 25 years. Cleveland was a full-time professor at a university. She now teaches adjunct classes. Cleveland, a mother of a child with cystic-fibrosis and a homeschooling stay-at-home mom writes frequently about culture. Cleveland can be found on Twitter as @ProfMJCleveland These views are hers in private.
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