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Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) — the two highest-ranking Republican members on the House Antitrust committee — used their first few minutes during their opening statements at the hearing with Big Tech CEOs Thursday to call out tech companies for unproven allegations of political bias against conservatives.

Why it matters: Previous hearings with tech executives have devolved into partisan bickering over political bias, instead of focusing on serious issues. The hope was that this hearing, conducted by a specialized subcommittee, would be more substantive.

“Big tech is out to get conservatives,” Jordan said at the very beginning of his opening remarks.

  • Jordan then proceeded to get into a heated exchange with the Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who tried to move the hearing along after Jordan's rant about political bias.
  • Rep. Sensenbrenner's opening remarks started out tempered, noting that "Being big is not inherently bad.” But he quickly pivoted to issues of bias.
  • "[R]eports that dissenting views, often conservative ones, are targeted or censored is seriously troubling. The power to influence debate carries with it remarkable responsibilities," he said.
  • Rep. Sensenbrenner later uses his first question to wrongly ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg why Facebook took action on Donald Trump Jr.’s account. "That happened on Twitter,” Zuckerberg replied.
  • Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), in his first line of questioning, referenced reports that by Google had warned The Federalist, a conservative website, about being demonetized for violating its rules.

Our thought bubble: Tech execs have recently gotten a free pass from being pressed on serious, substantive issues when they go to the Capitol because conservatives are obsessed with unproven allegations of political censorship.

Flashback: When tech executives testified in Congress last year, Senate conservatives did the same thing.

Go deeper

News about news dominates election

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The media and its gatekeepers have managed to make themselves a central story in the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: This is especially true on cable news, where mentions of terms like "misinformation" and "disinformation" have skyrocketed in the past few weeks, surpassing mentions of issues voters typically say they care about like "social security," "climate change," and "immigration."

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.