On Thursday, Rep. Sylvia R. Garcia, (D-TX) was accused of badgering journalist Matt Taibbi into revealing a source during a heated House Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Twitter Files,” but Taibbi refused to budge.
Taibbi was asked directly about his sources, which had already come up during the hearing, regarding his reporting on internal Twitter communications and accusations of government censorship.
Garcia asked Taibbi when Twitter owner Elon Musk initially approached him to partake in the Twitter Files project, which allowed internal discussions from Twitter to be exposed, revealing an array of issues including censorship and government overreach. Taibbi began to say he couldn’t reveal that information, with Garcia insisting she just needed a date.
“I can’t give it to you, unfortunately, because this is a question of sourcing, and I’m a journalist. I don’t reveal my sources,” Taibbi said.
Garcia said it’s not about the source, but rather chronology, but Taibbi pushed back, arguing “that’s a question of sources.”
However, Garcia didn’t back down, continuing to press the issue, saying, “You earlier said that someone had sent you through the internet, some message about whether or not you would be interested in some information.”
“Yes, and I referred to that person as a source,” Taibbi shot back.
Garcia continued, “So you’re not going to tell us when Musk first approached you?”
“Again, congresswoman, you’re asking a journalist to reveal a source,” Taibbi said.
Garcia asked if he considers Musk to be the direct source, but Taibbi was not amused, replying, “Now you’re trying to get me to say that he is the source, I can’t answer your question.”
Garcia said the “only logical conclusion” is that Musk is a source, with Taibbi telling her she was “free to conclude” whatever she wants.
“You can’t have it both ways,” Garcia said, prompting an intervention from House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), saying “He can, he’s a journalist.”
Jordan’s comment prompted bickering as several members spoke over each other angrily as Ranking Member Stacey Plaskett, (D-VI), who similarly badgered Taibbi over sources earlier, claimed that if Taibbi refused to comment on Musk, the Twitter owner must be the source in question.
“He’s not going to reveal his source and the fact that Democrats are pressuring him to do that is such a violation of the First Amendment,” Jordan snapped.
Plaskett had asked Taibbi who gave him access to the emails revealed in the Twitter Files, but he refused to say, replying, “The attribution for my story is sources at Twitter.”
Jordan then asked Plaskett if she was trying to get journalists to reveal their sources, but she denied the allegation.
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