Under the Department of Homeland Security’s watchful eye, the U.S. National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) is in search of a contractor/vendor to help compile and monitor a database consisting of traditional news sources as well as “social medial influencers,” according to a recent report from Bloomberg Law.

In what sounds like a chapter in a nightmarish dystopian novel coming to life, the federal government agency’s desire is to keep track of:

  • More than 290,000 global news sources which include broadcast, cable, online, print, radio, trade and industry publications, local sources, social media, traditional news sources and national/international outlets.
  • Ability to track media coverage in over 100 languages including Russian, Chinese, and Arabic.

The request is being explained away as necessary due to heightened concern for accuracy in media reporting and the potential for foreigners to influence U.S.

elections and policy through “fake news.”

Never too early to nip an amendment crisis in the bud

Forbes opines this is “enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press is under attack worldwide.” Monitoring media professionals borders on becoming a threat to our democracy. While we should all combat and denounce “fake news,” let us not forget that the definition of “fake” does not mean the story is fake, false, a lie, etc., just because a person does not like any unflattering subject matter. Professional journalists are obligated to report facts, not constant, glowing stories peppered with fawning and fantasies.

When the land of free becomes the home of the oppressed

The selected contractor for this eyebrow-raising project will be tasked with setting up a database allowing users to browse details such as locations, type of influencers, and the publications they write for. Is Google not sufficient enough? So far, seven mostly minority or female-owned small businesses have expressed an interest in taking on this venture.

Potential contractors have a deadline of April 13. Those who cherish free speech ought to contact their local and congressional representatives and voice their concerns. Drastic changes are not usually recognized in the beginning because they start off subtly. In today's politically charged climate, can we afford to miss any sign and have our Free Press held hostage?