‘Twitter Files’ hearing erupts as Matt Taibbi refuses to reveal sources in heated exchange with Democrat
Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, was accused of badgering journalist Matt Taibbi into revealing a source on Thursday during a heated House Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Twitter Files,” but the reporter wouldn’t budge.
Sourcing was a sensitive subject as it had already come up during the hearing when Taibbi was asked directly about it regarding his reporting on internal Twitter communications and accusations of government censorship. Garcia asked Taibbi when Twitter owner Elon Musk first approached him to partake in the “Twitter Files” project, which has allowed once-secret internal discussions to be exposed, revealing an array of issues.
Taibbi began to say he couldn’t reveal that information when Garcia insisted she simply 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.
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Journalist Matt Taibbi refused to reveal a source during a heated House Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Twitter Files.” (Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)
Garcia said it’s not about the source, but rather chronology, but he didn’t agree.
“No, that’s a question of sources,” Taibbi said.
The Democrat from Texas continued to press the issue.
“You earlier said that someone had sent you through the internet, some message about whether or not you would be interested in some information,” Garcia said.
“Yes, and I referred to that person as a source,” Taibbi shot back.
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Garcia asked, “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.
“Now you’re trying to get me to say that he is the source, I can’t answer your question,” Taibbi said.
Twitter owner Elon Musk has been vocal about being transparent when it comes to Twitter’s past and present actions curating content on the platform. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)
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Garcia said the “only logical conclusion” is that Musk is a source, but Taibbi told her she was “free to conclude” whatever she wants.
“You can’t have it both ways,” Garcia said when House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, intervened.
“He can, he’s a journalist,” Jordan said, causing other members to bicker.
Several members spoke over each other angrily as Ranking Member Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin islands, who had a similar exchange with Taibbi earlier, declared that if Taibbi wouldn’t comment on Musk, it must mean the Twitter owner was 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.
Earlier in the hearing, Taibbi was asked by Plaskett who gave him access to the emails revealed in the “Twitter Files,” but he refused to say.
“The attribution for my story is sources at Twitter,” he said.
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Jordan then asked Plaskett if she was trying to get journalists to reveal their sources, but she denied the allegation.