DHS: Fears over journalist database 'fit for tin foil hat wearing ... conspiracy theorists'

The Department of Homeland Security is pushing back on reaction to reports that it's seeking access to a database of ...

Posted: Apr 7, 2018 4:34 PM
Updated: Apr 7, 2018 4:34 PM

The Department of Homeland Security is pushing back on reaction to reports that it's seeking access to a database of journalists and bloggers, arguing that the move is "standard practice."

A solicitation posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the main contracting website used by the federal government, outlines a number of requests from DHS related to media monitoring -- including 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week access to a "media influencer" database that would be made up of reporters, editors and bloggers.

In a Friday column that was tweeted out by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Forbes writer Michelle Fabio referred to the move as "today's installment of 'I'm Not Terrified, You Are,'" and said the details of the plan "are enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press is under attack worldwide."

A DHS spokesperson took to Twitter on Friday to emphasize that the request is nothing out of the ordinary.

"Despite what some reporters may suggest, this is nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring current events in the media," DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton tweeted after the Committee to Protect Journalists tweeted out a link to a Forbes article about the request. "Any suggestion otherwise is fit for tin foil hat wearing, black helicopter conspiracy theorists."

DHS is seeking a contractor that can provide "traditional and social media monitoring," which will help its national protection and programs directorate track reporting and media coverage about the department, according to the solicitation.

"Given this administration's denigration of most media outlets, I understand why the timing of this bid might look suspicious," John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst, said in an e-mail. "But from what I can tell, this is nothing more than an attempt at media analysis. It's not at all different from what I have seen other agencies undertake to better understand the communication landscape. In fact, it would be PR malpractice not to put something like this together."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 250869

Reported Deaths: 5481
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17010171
Hinds16091318
Harrison13250193
Rankin10629208
Jackson10216182
Lee8759141
Madison8186161
Jones6222109
Forrest5917118
Lauderdale5808180
Lowndes5309111
Lafayette491192
Lamar480465
Washington4770123
Bolivar3955106
Oktibbeha390380
Panola365076
Pontotoc361152
Monroe3521104
Warren344597
Union341458
Marshall339165
Neshoba3357152
Pearl River323295
Leflore2992105
Lincoln295685
Sunflower280469
Tate269560
Alcorn262653
Itawamba261159
Hancock260458
Pike259977
Scott244745
Prentiss244052
Yazoo242654
Tippah239749
Copiah239149
Simpson233967
Leake229564
Coahoma228554
Grenada217070
Covington210471
Marion208371
Adams203270
Winston199464
Wayne198730
George197938
Attala193158
Newton189142
Chickasaw182944
Tishomingo182159
Holmes168167
Jasper167735
Clay158233
Stone141520
Tallahatchie139234
Clarke137460
Calhoun135121
Smith119423
Yalobusha116134
Walthall111736
Noxubee110222
Greene109129
Montgomery109134
Carroll104121
Lawrence102117
Perry100531
Amite96825
Webster91924
Tunica86021
Claiborne85525
Jefferson Davis84025
Humphreys82624
Benton81023
Kemper76620
Quitman6838
Franklin65815
Choctaw60013
Wilkinson58325
Jefferson53419
Sharkey42417
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 420681

Reported Deaths: 6119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson61755921
Mobile30058548
Madison26852186
Tuscaloosa20652266
Montgomery18876305
Shelby18421114
Baldwin16176182
Lee12393101
Morgan12175113
Etowah11687168
Calhoun11078200
Marshall10158107
Houston8556148
Cullman7999105
Limestone796274
Elmore7783101
DeKalb767197
Lauderdale752883
St. Clair7502120
Talladega6145108
Walker5880174
Jackson578841
Colbert529873
Blount529283
Autauga515455
Coffee438156
Dale394381
Franklin365248
Chilton335365
Covington326968
Russell326810
Escambia316142
Dallas302896
Chambers281869
Clarke279633
Tallapoosa2607107
Pike247629
Marion244650
Lawrence242547
Winston225535
Bibb214447
Geneva199535
Marengo197829
Pickens196231
Hale175442
Barbour172336
Butler168458
Fayette167126
Cherokee160030
Henry152721
Monroe145017
Randolph138835
Washington137026
Clay126145
Crenshaw118644
Lamar117519
Cleburne117223
Macon114335
Lowndes109535
Wilcox102621
Bullock98728
Perry96919
Conecuh94220
Sumter88826
Greene75723
Coosa60515
Choctaw51224
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 42°
Columbus
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 37°
Oxford
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 34°
Starkville
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 36°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather