Rep. Jordan Challenges Leftist Disinformation Industry on 60 Minutes

March 26th, 2024 1:23 PM

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) called out biased “disinformation” researchers’ efforts to undermine Americans’ First Amendment rights.

Jordan was having none of it when a charged 60 Minutes interview hostile CBS News co-host Lesley Stahl tried to get him to agree that the so-called "misinformation" and "disinformation" research industry is necessary. Jordan argued that the research has a “chilling impact on speech” by pressuring tech companies to censor speech that the left does not approve of. Even worse, some of these researchers coordinate with government to increase censorship on social media, per the House Judiciary Committee, which Jordan chairs.

The “60 Minutes” segment featured both Jordan and Kate Starbird, the researcher whose Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) acted as a government surrogate to ensure election-influencing censorship in the 2020 and 2022 elections. 

Starbird mourned that Facebook and Twitter only took action on about a third of flagged content, arguing for more censorship but Jordan highlighted that the nefarious work of researchers like Starbird nonetheless has a negative impact. “[W]hat they're doing is chilling First Amendment free speech rights,” he said. A 2023 Harvard survey found that so-called “misinformation” experts “leaned strongly toward the left of the political spectrum,” indicating heavy bias in the industry.

Stahl attempted to defend the industry during her interview with Jordan. She seemingly made the argument that posts questioning the integrity of the 2020 election should be shut down because “[m]ost people don't question the result,” implying that a right to free speech is dependent on majority opinion. Jordan had a different suggestion: “I think you let the American people, respect the American people, their common sense, to figure out what's accurate, what isn't.”

Stahl seemed most concerned about the First Amendment rights of the so-called misinformation researchers. She tried to argue that Congress's investigation of government coordinating with researchers and tech companies to censor Americans can "chill the research" and violate the researchers' free speech. Jordan later challenged Stahl. “So us pointing out, us doing our constitutional duty of oversight of the executive branch-- and somehow we're censoring? That makes no sense,” he said.

Would-be censors are allowed to research what they choose, but when they coordinate with government to take down differing opinions, that is a different situation, Jordan noted. “They can do their research,” Jordan countered, “but they can't take it down” without violating another person’s right to free speech. Indeed, “when they're coordinating with government, that's a different animal,” he added.

Stahl responded by again defending the censorship industry taking researchers like Starbird at their word without being critical of their motivations. “[Researchers] deny they're coordinating” with government, she said, despite extensive evidence from the free speech case Murthy v. Missouri and the Twitter Files

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