The FBI is preparing to use an outside contractor to begin assessing the tone of independent media reports about the agency on a scale that rates news stories as positive, neutral or negative.
The bureau’s public affairs office is advertising its need for a contractor to perform the work, but, according to The Washington Times, no one at the FBI is elaborating on why it’s needed, or how it’s useful.
All we really know is that the FBI is screening contractors who wish to bid on the project by putting them through an exercise in which they “‘use their judgment’ in scoring news coverage as part of a new ‘daily news briefing’ service the agency is seeking as part of a contract that could last up to five years.”
“You would certainly worry this could affect access,” Northwestern University journalism professor Dan Kennedy told the Times. “It might affect the way they’re going to approach your questions, whether they’re going to be extra careful not to make news if you’re on the ‘bad list.’”
That certainly bears similarity with the preferred approach of the current Presidential Administration – at least toward the handful of reporters who ask meaningful questions.
H/T: The Washington Times