Earlier this month, the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government held a hearing examining the revelations from “The Twitter Files,” which exposed close coordination between Twitter and the federal government in censoring content on the platform. The hearing featured two journalists – Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger – who were given access to internal documents showing the censorship coordination between the tech platform and various federal agencies.
The hearing had a lot of productive exchanges between Republicans on the committee and the witnesses. What drew the most scrutiny wasn’t the substance, however. It was Democrat lawmakers who created a silly and unserious circus. One of the starkest examples was the repeated questioning of the witnesses’ journalistic integrity.
Democrat ranking member Stacey Plaskett, who initially refused to donate campaign contributions from sex trafficker/child molester Jeffrey Epstein after he was arrested, called Taibbi and Shellenberger “so-called journalists.” Plaskett and Rep. Sylvia Garcia also spent significant time cajoling Taibbi into revealing his sources, which he didn’t.
If the roles were reversed and Republicans were grilling a congressional witness testifying before a committee to reveal their journalistic sources or attacking their integrity or objectivity, the outrage from the national media would be apoplectic. But, since the Democrats were the responsible party, the national media went largely silent.
Democracy was in peril when Trump used mean words, according to Democrats. CNN convened eight-person TV panels when the White House press secretary forcefully rejected the premise of a question. Media stars were born out of shallow ‘clap back’ commentary that did nothing besides make cable news addicts cheer at the television.
But, when Democrats attacked two journalists as illegitimate at a congressional hearing and tried to get them to reveal sources under oath, the press was largely silent. A free press and Democracy are OK to trample on when you’re a Democrat.
Why do Democrats exercise such a double standard when it’s evident to anyone who pays attention? It’s because they’re desperate to censor any position outside their own. Just weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called on the chairman of a media organization to censor one of its anchors because “our democracy depends on it.”
Schumer isn’t alone in the circus. Eric Swalwell, who had a relationship with an actual Chinese spy, also wants to ensure that as many people as possible can’t be exposed to a view different than his own. Recently, Swalwell said that Fox News should be banned on military bases for “national security” reasons. But, of course, what’s an actual national security issue is getting honey potted by a Chinese spy before becoming a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Democrats aren’t alone in this silliness. Their allies in the mainstream media are in on the schtick. In a December 2021 op-ed, Dana Milbank claimed that Joe Biden has been treated worse than Donald Trump was by the press. Anyone with two ears, two eyes, and any credibility would recognize this as ridiculous. This is part of the game, though. A writer who is in the tank for Democrats tries to lend legitimacy to a wild and laughable theory to influence future coverage.
As the 2024 election kicks into high gear, we should expect to see an uptick in this kind of rhetoric from Democrats and their allies. They’ve spent the past five years calling into question the durability of our democracy. All the while, they’ve never meant it. It turns out they didn’t want Americans to see differing viewpoints.
Joe Biden is unpopular, and the economy shows signs of deep trouble. Democrats will do whatever it takes to retain the White House, even if it bears their hypocrisy. The only question that remains is whether the corporate press will call them out on it. Don’t hold your breath.
Mike Davis is the founder and president of the Article III Project, which defends constitutionalist judges. As the former chief counsel for nominations to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), he served as the staff leader for Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation. Davis served as a law clerk to Justice Neil Gorsuch, both on the 10th Circuit and Supreme Court.