Good evening and welcome to Tucker Carlson Tonight. Here’s the latest summarized. Kevin McCarthy badly wants to be the next speaker of the House, but as of tonight, he is not going to be. He doesn’t have the votes. It’s not a question of who’s good or who’s bad, who’s well-intentioned, who’s not. It’s a question of simple electoral math, something that Kevin McCarthy is highly familiar with since he does this for a living.
At this point, as of right now, facing that mathematical reality, Kevin McCarthy has two choices. He can either step aside and let somebody else do the job, acknowledging in the process that he is not the only person in Congress capable of being speaker. Or he can try and win over the people who oppose him, as you traditionally do in elections. Oh, you’ve got reservations about Kevin McCarthy? You don’t want to be ruled by a man who wears a Ukrainian flag lapel pin and lives with Frank Luntz? No problem. We get it.
Let us tell you how he’s better than you think he is. Let us try and change your mind. Let us try to convince you. In a normal race, that’s what you would do. But that is not what Kevin McCarthy’s team is doing. Instead, like the left, they purport to oppose. They’re using threats and fear to force people to support the candidate. Anyone who opposes Kevin McCarthy, one of his surrogates explained today, is, quote, “an enemy.” A, quote, “terrorist.” That’s their message. In a moment, we’ll tell you how that message is working.
But first tonight, in the summer of 2016, the government transparency organization WikiLeaks released thousands of emails from the servers of the Democratic National Committee. Those documents showed conclusively that Hillary Clinton partisans had worked to rig the Democratic primary against her rival, Bernie Sanders. It was obvious from the start that that email dump had come from an internal source, probably from a DNC staffer who was offended by the corruption of the Clinton team. But of course, the Democratic Party couldn’t admit that. Too embarrassing, too revealing.
So instead, in order to cover this wrongdoing, the Clinton campaign claimed that Russia did it. The Russians hacked the servers. Remember that? Now, you may have believed it or not, but intel agencies in this country must have known at the time that it was not true. They would know, but they said nothing. And they said nothing because blaming Russia turned out to be a very useful political tool. In fact, before long, it became the default response to every perceived disaster in Washington. Hillary lost. Why? Russia! Donald Trump can’t be President. Why? Russia! Hunter Biden’s laptop is here. Russian! Audit aid to Ukraine? Can’t. Russia! And so on and so on.
So over time, probably inevitably, the inflated threat of Russia became a pretext for everything bad, including censorship in this country. It’s Russian disinformation. Shut it down. Thanks to new reporting from Matt Taibbi, who has spent weeks sifting through previously secret Twitter files, we know the federal government’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies enthusiastically joined the effort to censor the political speech of American citizens illegally. It was a sophisticated effort.
At one point, for example, the State Department released a report falsely claiming that thousands of Twitter accounts were controlled by foreign governments. Russia! And then, unnamed sources in the intel world leaked scary headlines about Russian disinformation running rampant on Twitter. “Twitter deleted data potentially crucial to the Russia probes,” screamed Politico, ever obedient to the intel agencies. And then the Washington Post published a piece threatening to increase regulation of Twitter’s advertising because, of course, Russia. So it was a manufactured panic about Russia. But on the basis of that manufactured panic, lawmakers in Washington demanded more censorship.
ED MARKEY: The issue is not that the companies before us today are taking too many posts down. The issue is that they’re leaving too many dangerous posts up. In fact, they’re amplifying harmful content so that it spreads like wildfire and torches our democracy.
Oh. Too much speaking. Your opinions are a threat to our “democracy.” That would be sitting United States Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. But almost nobody said anything because Russia. And so it accelerated. Not long after that tape was shot in November of 2020, Congressman Adam Schiff of California, who was then the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, demanded that Twitter censor any discussion about the House Intelligence Committee. Quote, “suppress any and all search results about Committee staff,” a Schiff aide demanded of Twitter. Schiff was particularly furious that a journalist called Paul Sperry had reported on Schiff’s connection to the CIA whistleblower behind Donald Trump’s impeachment. So Schiff demanded that Twitter censor Sperry. Quote, “suspend the many accounts, including Paul Sperry,” commanded Schiff’s office.
This is illegal. It’s openly unconstitutional. Government officials cannot suppress speech. That’s the Bill of Rights. And even at Twitter, executives seem to understand that. “No, this isn’t feasible. We don’t do this,” replied one Twitter executive. But ultimately, however, they caved. In time, in fact, Paul Sperry was censored by Twitter, along with many thousands of others. Twitter had effectively become a government propaganda outlet. How that happened and the effect that it had on American electoral politics is one of the most important stories of our time. And as we said, we know about it because of Matt Taibbi, who has been at the center of it.