Apr 26, 2023

House Democrat Threatens Journalist With Jail Time

A letter asks Matt Taibbi to “correct” himself or face the consequences.
House Democrat Threatens Journalist With Jail Time
Journalist Matt Taibbi, 2012

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By Hudson Crozier

What happened: Democratic Delegate Stacey Plaskett sent a letter to journalist Matt Taibbi accusing him of submitting false testimony to the House’s Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. The letter warns Taibbi that perjury is a crime carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison and asks him to “correct” his statements.

The false accusation: Plaskett relied on a typo in Taibbi’s work and reporting from the partisan MSNBC Host Mehdi Hasan as her cause to threaten the journalist with arrest. Other journalists easily debunked Hasan's claims, showing that the typo was indeed a simple mistake and did not amount to perjury. That didn’t stop Democrats from trying to dismiss the Twitter Files as a whole or Plaskett from warning Taibbi of the consequences he could face if he didn’t “correct” himself.

The typo: In a tweet discussing the nonprofit Center for Internet Security (CIS) and its efforts to help censor 2020 election “misinformation,” Taibbi mistakenly wrote “CISA,” which made it appear that he was referencing the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA), a government entity. Hasan and Democrats claimed that Taibbi was misleading the public about the government’s role in social media censorship. Taibbi later admitted to the typo, while pointing out that both CIS and CISA were a part of the Election Integrity Partnership, a project that sought to monitor the election “misinformation” on social media.

Why this matters: Taibbi has reported extensively on social media platforms collaborating with private companies and the federal government to censor speech. The weaponization committee, which had him testify, has exposed significant evidence of partisan bias in the federal government. Legacy media and Democrats have tried to undermine the committee’s activities from the beginning. Ironically, by threatening a journalist for doing his job, Plaskett is proving the committee’s point about the weaponization of the federal government.

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