Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Extremism In Defense Of Liberty Is No Vice

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Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks during the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government hearing on the Missouri v. Biden case challenging the administration’s violation of the First Amendment by directing social media companies to censor and suppress Americans’ free speech, in Rayburn Building on Thursday, March 30, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who may become Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, thanks to his endorsement yesterday by Donald J. Trump, is a threat to American democracy and freedom, say the news media, Wikipedia, and even some Republicans.

“If Republicans decide Jim Jordan should be Speaker of the House,” said former Republican Congressperson Liz Cheney this morning, “there would no longer be any other possible way to argue that a group of elected Republicans could be counted on to defend the Constitution.”

And yet no member of Congress has done more over the last year to expose the abuses of power by the federal government agencies, including in demanding greater censorship of disfavored views, than Jordan.

The media and Wikipedia have for months insisted that there was no government censorship and that Jordan is spreading conspiracy theories.

“Although research groups may have reported problematic content,” Wikipedia writes, quoting a June New York Times story, “’no evidence has emerged that government officials coerced the companies to take action against accounts.”

But so much evidence of government censorship has, in fact, “emerged” that the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently expanded its injunction against the Biden Administration to prevent the Department of Homeland Security’s CISA agency from communicating with social media companies.

The media have already started repeating the claim that Jordan is an extremist. NBC said he was the founder of the “ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus.” The Guardian calls him a “favorite of hard right.”

What none mention is that Jordan routinely platforms liberal voices, including Matt Taibbi and me, when we testified before his committee on censorship last March. These media outlets also don’t mention that Jordan has cordial and even warm relationships with Democrats and that his closest friend for years has been Dennis Kucinich, the former “ultra-progressive” mayor of Cleveland and member of Congress.

“I mean, literally, he’s a friend,” Jordan told a reporter in 2018. “He thinks I’m crazy, I think he’s crazy, but when we can agree — and we could on issues — we’d work together.”

When Robert F. Kennedy testified in front of Jordan’s subcommittee, Jordan warmly acknowledged the presence of Kucinich, Kennedy’s campaign manager, who was sitting behind him.

Beyond Jordan’s investigation into the weaponization of government to censor, his committee has done important investigations into the weaponization of the FBI, another disturbing trend that Public has covered extensively.

Most alarmingly, the FBI has manipulated and entrapped vulnerable, mentally ill people in order to promote the narrative that Republican Trump supporters are a threat to liberal democracy. The work of Jordan and his committee showed that the FBI has expelled good, earnest, and Constitution-abiding FBI agents who refused to go along with the agency’s abuses of power.

Jordan played a similarly pro-freedom role in challenging Covid lockdowns, mask mandates, vaccine mandates, and many other aspects of our country’s overreaction — including the federal government’s many abuses of power — to the pandemic.

And Jordan was a longstanding critic of the Russiagate hoax, started by Democratic Party operatives and carried about by partisan elements of the FBI and the Department of Justice. The hoax was, in essence, that the Russian government controlled Trump through money or blackmail.

There was never any basis for the FBI or Justice Department’s investigation of Trump, and the accusation by the news media and Democrats that Trump was, effectively, guilty of treason stands as one of the greatest abuses of power by federal government employees in American history.

After we testified, Matt and I walked and rode with Jordan on the train in a tunnel connecting the Capitol building to the staff offices. There, we had a chance to meet and visit with then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy. It gave us some time to chat with Jordan.

For several hours during the hearing, Democrats had attacked Matt and me as fake (“so-called”) journalists unconcerned with the truth, insinuating ridiculous falsehoods and demanding to know who our sources were. I think it’s fair to say we were both rattled by the experience.

Jordan apologized for their treatment of us, as other members of the Committee had, including during the hearing itself. But at no point did Jordan say an inappropriately harsh word about Democrats afterward. Indeed, I was impressed by his ability to view his colleagues as separate from their behavior, something many of us struggle to do.

Naturally, I don’t agree with Jordan about many things. He’s a conservative Republican, and, being with him and speaking with Republicans, I am always reminded of all the ways in which I remain, despite having changed my mind on many important things, a relatively liberal person.

But those differences pale in comparison to the clear and present threat to freedom of speech by the government in collusion with tech platforms and by the very real weaponization of the FBI, DHS, CDC, and other government agencies.

What Jordan has done with his Subcommittee on the Weaponization of Government in 2022 is akin to what the Democratic Congressman Frank Church did with his 1975 hearings, which exposed the weaponization of the FBI and CIA against progressive activists and widespread abuses of power, including assassinations.

The main difference between the Church committee hearings and Jordan’s hearings is that in 1975, the mainstream news media and Republicans encouraged the hearings by Church, while in 2023, the media and Democrats condemned the hearings by Jordan.

Liz Cheney’s criticism of Jordan stems from Jordan’s skepticism that Trump lost the 2020 election. CNN quotes Jordan as having expressed doubts at various points that Trump lost.

But Jordan’s remarks are no stronger than the claims that have been made by Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, about their own election defeats.

While I do not believe there is evidence of sufficient voter fraud to have changed the outcome of the 2020 election, it’s hyperbolic and unfair for Cheney to suggest that Jordan does not defend the Constitution. No member in Congress, including no Democrat, has defended it more over the last year than Jordan.

I don’t have an opinion about who should be the Speaker of the House. But before the media begin yet another cycle of demonization, it should be acknowledged that Jordan has demonstrated through his behaviors that he is a strong defender of freedom of speech and for the de-politicization of federal agencies.

The events of the last seven years, from the Russia hoax to Covid lockdowns to FBI entrapment to government censorship, make clear that the threat to American democracy and freedom comes not from people like Jim Jordan but rather from a weaponized news media and federal government.

As such, to the extent Jordan is an extremist in defense of liberty, it’s no vice.

— MS

FBI Gearing Up To Persecute Trump Voters

FBI Director Christopher Wray listens to committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) during a House Judiciary Committee about oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Capitol Hill July 12, 2023 in Washington, DC. Conservative House Republicans claim that the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies have been “weaponized” against conservatives, including former U.S. President Donald Trump and his allies. Wray defended the FBI workforce, emphasizing that the agency protects Americans every day “from a staggering array of threats.” (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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