The Homeland Security Department of the Donald Trump administration has revealed that it’s putting together a plan to monitor U.S. journalists, bloggers, and media influencers, presumably to track and intimidate those whose coverage of Trump is negative. Homeland Security’s job is supposed to be keeping the U.S. safe from things like terrorist attacks, which means that the Trump administration now officially views the free press as something akin to terrorism. That’s scary – but it doesn’t scare me.
From the start, Donald Trump and his administration have taken an overtly hostile and almost cartoonishly evil stance toward the free press. And frankly, why wouldn’t they? Trump and his co-conspirators won the election by illegally conspiring with foreign enemies; if you’re going to go that far to secure power, you’re not going to think twice about persecuting those who try to expose your criminal antics. Because of what I do for a living, I’ve always assumed that I’m on some Trump administration watch list or other, and that other political journalists like me are as well. Frankly, I’m surprised if it took Trump this long.
In fact, come to think of it, this doesn’t feel like Trump and his people confidently cracking down on the free press. Instead it feels like a last ditch desperation move. The key here is that they’ve revealed this tracking and monitoring system. Credit goes to Bloomberg Law for writing the defining expose on it, but this Homeland Security plan is sitting in plain sight on the FBI website. There’s no real attempt at putting this database together under the radar. They wanted the media to find it. They’re trying to scare us off.
That’s because, as Special Counsel Robert Mueller comes closer to taking down Donald Trump and his co-conspirators for their crimes, and as the free press continues to help Mueller by exposing some things that he may not have already known about, Trump and his people are more desperate than ever. This is a truly and profoundly scary development, and one that reminds us of just how far the failing Trump regime will be willing to go in its desperate final throes. But it doesn’t scare me. Trump is not going to intimidate me out of covering his criminal scandals. I doubt this will scare off many in the journalistic community. If anything, it’ll prompt the free press to work even harder at exposing Trump’s criminal behavior, so we can be done with him, and get back to being America.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report