When an authoritarian leader comes to power in a country, one of their top priorities is to make sure they control the information that their underlings are allowed to know. He who controls the information controls the minds of the masses. That’s kind of hard to do in a country like ours where we’re granted freedom of speech and freedom of the press. When Trump took office he realized that he couldn’t take over control of the media outright, so he did an end run, and tried to delegitimize it in every way possible. There are millions of otherwise bright Americans out there who now erroneously believe that everything they hear, read, or see is somehow riddled with “fake news.” We can thank Donald Trump for that. Nine times out of ten the only fake news is coming straight out of Trump’s mouth.
In a bit of terrifying news for anyone concerned about freedom of the press and freedom of speech, today it was discovered that the Department of Homeland Security is looking for a contractor to start compiling a database of journalists and “media influencers.” The DHS is looking to track more than 290,000 global news sources, and here’s the scary part, they’re also wanting to track influential social media sources too. They’re not just looking to track domestic media here in the states, their database will also include sources in a hundred other languages too.
In an article today Michelle Fabio of Forbes magazine had this to say about the DHS’ announcement,
“The successful contracting company will have “24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database, including journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.” in order to “identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event.”
“As part of its ‘media monitoring,’ the DHS seeks to track more than 290K global news sources as well as social media in over 100 languages… Unfortunately, increasing govt encroachment on the freedom of the press is the sinister backdrop to all of this.” https://t.co/7Zhq7nz7tQ
— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) April 6, 2018
Users of the database will be able to browse by “location, beat and type of influencer,” and for each influencer, the user will be able to find present contact details and any other information that could be relevant, including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer. The database will also include the writers “sentiment,” meaning whether they lean left or right politically.
This is could be a very serious problem for us. Once this database is compiled there’s no telling how Trump will use it. Will he try to silence certain media types, or will he just use it as a way to pull the wool over even more people’s eyes. Only time will tell. Until then here’s a clip of someone else who likes to track people’s information and control what the rest of us see.
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