Archive for April 8th, 2018

In general, the really bad ideas from the current regime are touted with the most positive, or at least benign-sounding, intent. Getting rid of environmental regulations will make the country more “competitive,” for instance.

When I first saw the article Homeland Security to Compile Database of Journalists, Bloggers, I seriously thought it was fake news. But it’s no hoax.

“On 3 April 2018, a solicitation for services posted by… [DHS] appeared on the U.S. Federal Business Opportunities website — a system that allows private contractors to bid on providing goods or services to the United States government. That solicitation…, titled ‘Media Monitoring Services,’ seeks a contractor to create a searchable database of information about journalists, social media ‘influencers,’ and media outlets.”

This is so consequential that it has been covered by media in India, Japan, and elsewhere. Presumably the database is designed to… well, I’m not sure.

The Forbes article speaks to my concerns:

“Unfortunately, increasing government encroachment on the freedom of the press is the sinister backdrop to all of this. Freedom House, which has monitored the status of the press for nearly 40 years, recently concluded that global media freedom has reached its lowest level in the past 13 years. The independent watchdog organization blames ‘new threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies’ as well as ‘further crackdowns on independent media in authoritarian countries like Russia and China.’ And then it goes one step further.

“But it is the far-reaching attacks on the news media and their place in a democratic society by Donald Trump, first as a candidate and now as president of the United States, that fuel predictions of further setbacks in the years to come.”

Snopes “reached out to DHS to ask if media reports suggesting this was an effort to compile political information on journalists were unfounded, as well as to ask for details about how this effort will enhance national security. In response, DHS directed us to a tweet from Homeland Security spokesperson Tyler Q. Houlton, who confirmed the data collection…”

Houlton posted: “Despite what some reporters may suggest, this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media. Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists.”

Well, THAT makes me feel a WHOLE lot better. Yeah, right. Hmm, I wonder if I’m considered a “social media influencer.” My Klout score has been going down recently, so maybe DHS won’t notice me…

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