On Thursday, the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government held a hearing on Twitter files and censorship. To nobody's surprise, House Democrats attempted to defend social media censorship and attacked two prominent Democratic journalists in the process.
Led by Ranking Member Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Democrats assailed journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger. The two were accused of ulterior motives and even asked to reveal their sources. Dems resorted to the “reclaiming my time” tactic they had used when questioning then-Attorney General William Barr in 2020, preventing the witnesses from responding to their personal attacks and grandstanding.
Republicans were quick to point out that other conservative voices have also been censored or banned, citing examples such as Charlie Kirk, Candace Owens, and even Project Veritas journalist James O'Keefe. They argued that what Twitter is doing is not only wrong but unconstitutional as well, violating users' First Amendment rights.
Rep. Daniel Goldman (who bought a congressional seat) says "you cannot find actual evidence of any direct government censorship of lawful speech."
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 9, 2023
Democrats attempted to defend Twitter's actions by claiming that it is within its right as a private company to regulate who can use its platform and how they use it. However, Republicans countered this argument by pointing out that since Twitter has become such a major platform for news dissemination, it should be held accountable for any potential violations of free speech or civil liberties—just like any other media organization would be held responsible for its content.
I have to run to a speech, but I never thought I would come to see this day when Democrats trash journalists for seeking to disclose government censorship work and pressing them for their sources and confidential information...
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) March 9, 2023
The Subcommittee hearing was contentious at times with tempers flaring between Democrats and Republicans over the issue of social media censorship and freedom of speech rights online. As the debate continues to rage over whether tech giants like Twitter should be subject to regulations or allowed free reign over their platforms, one thing is clear—many are unhappy with how these companies have treated conservative users in recent years and some sort of action needs to be taken in order to protect everyone’s civil liberties online regardless of political affiliation or opinion.