Angry Democrats took turns browbeating renowned journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger at a House subcommittee hearing Thursday on the Twitter Fiiles hearing — and the two renowned writers were caught on video smiling and even giggling at times over the “gotcha” questioning, which they easily saw through.
What are the details?
In one instance, Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-USVI) — the ranking member of the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government — actually called Taibbi and Shellenberger “so-called journalists,” despite their well-known credentials.
Taibbi had quite the comeback: “Ranking Member Plaskett, I’m not a ‘so-called journalist.’ I’ve won the National Magazine Award, the I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism, and I’ve written 10 books, including four New York Times bestsellers.”
Not that Plaskett was interested in such facts, as she was caught on video talking to another person behind her during Taibbi’s pointed correction.
An unsmiling, apparently-not-joking Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) elicited some laughter when she asked if the Twitter Files work of Taibbi, Shellenberger, and journalist Bari Weiss was a “threesome.”
Garcia also tried to get Taibbi and Shellenberger to reveal their sources, often with questions designed to trap them if they were to answer “yes” or “no.”
“What was the first time that Mr. [Elon] Musk approached you about writing the Twitter Files?” Garcia asked. “I just need a date, sir.”
“But I can’t give it to you, unfortunately, because this is a question of sourcing, and I don’t give out — I’m a journalist; I don’t reveal my sources,” Taibbi responded.
“It’s not a question of sources; it’s a question of chronology,” she hit back.
“No, that’s a question of sourcing,” Taibbi pushed back
“So you’re not going to tell us when Musk approached you?” Garcia pressed.
“Again, Congresswoman, you’re asking a journalist to reveal his sources,” Taibbi replied.
“So then you consider Mr. Musk to be the direct source of all of this?” Garcia said.
“No, now you’re trying to get me to say that he
is the source,” Taibbi answered. “I just can’t answer your question.”
“Well, he either is or he isn’t,” she said. “If you’re telling me you can’t answer because it’s your source, well then the only logical conclusion is that he is, in fact, your source.”
“Well, you’re free to conclude that,” Taibbi said.
At that point, Plaskett and subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) began arguing, with Jordan exclaiming that Taibbi said “he’s not going to reveal his source, and the fact that the Democrats are pressuring him to do so is such a violation of the First Amendment.”
Here’s more of Garcia’s time of questioning:
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) tried to smear Taibbi by suggesting he took on the Twitter Files project “for the money.”
“Is it true that you have profited since you were the recipient of the Twitter Files? You’ve made money. Yes or no. Very simple question,” she pushed.
Taibbi replied, “I think it’s probably a wash, honestly.”
Here are some clips of the interactions between the Democrats and Taibbi and Shellenberger, along with analysis from The Hill:
Dems SMEAR Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger As ‘SO-CALLED JOURNALISTS’: Brie & Robby REACT
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