Premium

Of Course Democrats Are Threatening to Imprison Matt Taibbi Over a Typo

Screenshot via YouTube

The Twitter Files have been rankling a lot of feathers on the left since they began months ago. The revelations that have come from these releases have exposed all kinds of malfeasance on the part of Big Tech leaders and the government.

It can be no surprise, then, that the authoritarian left would seek to punish those involved in the exposure of the government’s efforts to suppress dissenting voices on the internet.

This is why Democrats are threatening to use the power of the state to punish journalist Matt Taibbi, who was instrumental in distributing the information found behind the scenes at Twitter. Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), a ranking member of the Weaponization subcommittee, has threatened to have Taibbi arrested and thrown in a cage for supposedly committing perjury.

According to RedState’s Nick Arama, Plaskett “sent a letter to Taibbi accusing him of committing perjury during his testimony because he supposedly made an error referring to the CISA (the government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) when he meant to refer to the CIS (the Center for Internet Security).”

Plaskett wrote:

Specifically, on March 9, immediately before your appearance before the Subcommittee, you released an additional installment of the so-called Twitter Files on your personal Twitter account. As part of that installment, you alleged that the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) worked with the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a component of the Department of Homeland Security, to ask social media companies to remove disinformation on their platforms. You wrote: “It’s crucial to reiterate: EIP was partnered with state entities like CISA and GEC while seeking elimination of millions of tweets. In the #TwitterFiles, Twitter execs did not distinguish between organizations, using phrases like ‘According to CIS[A], escalated via EIP.’”

The delegate continued, noting that Taibbi’s remarks “now seem to be contradicted by your own admission” and referenced the journalist’s appearance on MSNBC’s the “Mehdi Hasan Show.”

“During that interview, Mr. Hasan pointed out that your March 9 tweet added a parenthetical [A] to the acronym CIS, changing the meaning of the term from “Center for Internet Security” —a private organization —to “Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.” This mistake is important because, by adding an “A,” you weren’t making a harmless spelling error. Rather, you were alleging that CISA – a government entity—was working with the EIP to have posts removed from social media,” Plaskett wrote.

It was a simple typo, one which Taibbi acknowledged making. Nevertheless, Plaskett, and some of her other authoritarian colleagues in Congress, believe this is egregious enough to threaten a member of the press with imprisonment.

Journalist Lee Fang originally reported on the recent backlash against journalists who have reported on the Department of Homeland Security’s reach into social media platforms. Fang obtained a letter from Rep. Stacey Plaskett, D-V.I., in which she falsely accused journalist Matt Taibbi of lying under oath during his congressional testimony.

The lawmaker threatened Taibbi with criminal prosecution, citing the federal perjury statute. Taibbi’s testimony before Congress was related to Twitter’s content-moderation requests from both the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), and he had pointed out that Twitter failed to distinguish between private sector and government demands for censorship.

Plaskett’s letter echoed accusations made by MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan, which Taibbi had already debunked. The letter was seen as part of a group effort involving senior figures in the House Democratic Caucus, and it was written by Jacqui Kappler, a lawyer with the House Judiciary Committee. The Federal Trade Commission has also demanded that Twitter identify all journalists involved in accessing company records, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

On his Substack, Taibbi defended himself:

I’m not going to lie, it frightens me a little that I even have to offer this defense. I’ve had a long career, writing about some of the most litigious people and companies in America, and I’ve only been sued once and never successfully, and also never over a factual issue (the complaint was about the propriety of an undercover stunt). Nor have I ever had to issue a retraction.

At this point, nothing surprises me, so the idea that a sitting member of Congress would threaten a journalist with jail time over a simple error seems par for the course, especially when dealing with the authoritarian left. The reality here is that Plaskett and her ilk would love to lock up journalists who report information that expose malfeasance on the part of the state.

But this could be even more pernicious than we think.

First and foremost, it constitutes an attack on press freedom and the principles of the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to freedom of speech and of the press in the United States. As a journalist, Taibbi has the right to express his opinions, report on matters of public interest, and engage in robust investigative journalism without the fear of retribution or censorship.

Furthermore, the threat of imprisonment for a simple error, such as a typo during congressional testimony sets a dangerous precedent. It is intended to discourage journalists and other witnesses from providing valuable information for fear of facing punitive measures. This can have a chilling effect on the ability of actual journalists like Taibbi to carry out their crucial role as watchdogs of the government, holding those in power accountable and informing the public.

It is also troubling that the threat against Taibbi is clearly politically motivated, as it comes from a member of Congress who disagrees with his reporting. Using the power of the state to punish journalists based on their political views or reporting is a grave violation of democratic principles and undermines the integrity of the press. Unfortunately, this is the time we live in currently.

 

Sponsored

Recommended

Trending on RedState Videos