‘May I Answer?’: Censorship Hearing Flies Off The Rails As Matt Gaetz Squabbles With Democrat Norman Eisen

[Screenshot/House Judiciary Committee]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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The censorship hearing conducted Tuesday by the House Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government went off the rails as Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz sparred with a former Obama-era official.

Gaetz sparred with Norman Eisen, a former Obama-era ambassador and senior fellow at the Brooking Institution, about the National Science Foundation (NSF) spending millions of dollars on grants to utilize technology in order to combat mis- and disinformation. One grant given to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) allegedly states that individuals in rural communities, part of a military family and view the Bible and Constitution as sacred are said to be susceptible because they do not rely on “the expert class” in Washington, D.C.

“While you indicate that the Torah and the Constitution are your sacred texts, if Americans indicate online that the Bible and the Constitution are sacred to them, the very grants that are being issued by the NSF [National Science Foundation] would deem those people in a separate and diminished class,” Gaetz said.

“No, sir,” Eisen said.

“Oh indeed it is precisely in the MIT —” Gaetz continued.

“I have the materials here. No, sir,” Eisen said.

Gaetz pointed to a separate grant that said those part of military families and in rural areas are in fact susceptible to misinformation. He then said government money is being used to harm people who belong to these categories.

“Mr. Gaetz, if we can talk about that material in context, if we can have the full context of the committee’s investigation, the ranking member has said there are 29 depositions that this subcommittee has taken,” Eisen said.

“But Mr. Eisen, this isn’t about any of those. This is about the — when MIT wanted the grant that Ms. [Katelynn] Richardson was just talking about, they went and made a presentation by NSF and said ‘Here’s why you want to pick MIT in order to do it,’ and it was to target military families, people in rural communities, people who believed in the Bible and the Constitution, and then guess what? With these AI [artificial intelligence] tools, if you stacked that up, maybe you’re a person in a rural community who loves both the Bible and the Constitution. Well, then you’re really susceptible to misinformation because the expert class thinks better,” Gaetz said.

“No sir,” Eisen said.

Gaetz compared the grants to the film, “Minority Report,” a futuristic film about police utilizing technology to arrest murderers before they commit the crime.

“Doesn’t this kind of feel like that? That it’s coming to life before our very eyes,” Gaetz said.

“May I answer?” Eisen asked. (RELATED: ‘Get Over Yourself’: Matt Gaetz Zings Apparent Heckler Interrupting Hearing)

“That the government funding these predictive analytics go after Americans and here’s what I think is actually true,” the congressman continued. “It’s not that military families and rural Americans and people who love the Bible and Constitution are dumber or are uniquely susceptible to anything. It’s just that they don’t think how the expert class and the National Science Foundation want them to think and so they’re trying to program what they see so they can control what they behave and that is the true weaponization that this committee will stand against.”

The NSF spent $38.8 million on “misinformation” related projects as of Feb. 19, 2023, the Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported. The agency handed several grants to universities to create tools to combat misinformation and disinformation, including at the University of Houston, where the university’s grant intended to create a “social media misinformation interactive dashboard” that would “forecast trends and analysis to help address the misinformation endemic in America.”

The NSF, according to the agency’s website, “is an independent federal agency that supports science and engineering in all 50 states and U.S. territories.” Created in 1950, the agency claims its purpose is partly to improve “national health, prosperity and welfare” as well as ensure “the national defense.” The NSF primarily achieves its goals through allocating grants to higher education institutions.

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