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, yesterday it was announced that the Department of Homeland Security is looking for a contractor to start compiling a database of journalists and “media influencers.” The contractor will become head of the little known U.S. National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) which will be in charge of compiling all that data. For those who like to read really boring government speak, here’s a link to the DHS’ announcement. At a time when governments throughout the world are cracking down on the free press, it’s scary to think what this new database could be used for.
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. That means they won’t just be looking to track domestic media here in the states. Their database will also include sources worldwide in a hundred other languages. Makes one wonder what Trump and cronies are going to use those media influences for. Maybe they’ll use them to replace two other influential sources who just got publicly outed and put under the microscope…Cambridge Analytica and Sinclair Broadcasting.
In an article yesterday, 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.’
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 writer’s “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 tool that would enable him to pull the wool over even more people’s eyes? Most people don’t fact check information they read online or watch on television and that’s a big problem. When one gains so many fans that they’re able to influence other people’s minds or choices they make, they need to use their influence wisely or bad things could happen. Just look what happened when a bunch of influencers worked together to elect Donald Trump. They influenced enough people that now we’re saddled with a wannabe authoritarian train wreck in the White House.
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