This week, the Department of Homeland Security posted a contract request for “Media Monitoring Services.” If you think it sounds like they are looking for a firm who can “compile a database of hundreds of thousands of journalists, bloggers and ‘media influencers'” so the federal government can monitor them, you’d be correct. And if you think that’s a step too far, you’d be right about that too. But don’t worry, Big Brothers got you covered.
After an outcry on social media, a spokesman from DHS tweeted:1
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. https://t.co/XGgFFH3Ppl
— Tyler Q. Houlton (@SpoxDHS) April 6, 2018
DHS is looking to monitor up to 290,000 global news sources; track media coverage in up to 100 languages and “track online, print, broadcast, cable, radio, trade and industry publications, local sources, national/international outlets, traditional news sources, and social media.”2 While I suppose it makes sense that these things need to be done, given the climate and how distrustful the government has become, I totally understand the outcry.
And let me state again, DHS is also looking to build lists of journalists based on beat, location, outlet type/size and journalist role. But according to Tyler Houlton, DHS spokesman, this is normal and any suggestion to the contrary is “fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists.”3 Perfect. Thanks for speaking to everyone’s discomfort with this issue. Really makes us trust you more!
If you’d like the job, you’ll need to respond to the request by April 13.