Trump may be monitoring urban journalistsSpecifically targeting black media opens up a whole new lane of concern for an administration.

Twitter

Feb 15, 2017

The Trump administration’s relationship with the media has been, let’s say, "contentious," creating an environment rife with rampant mistrust, concealment rather than cooperation, and "alternative facts." But a recent altercation at the White House between Trump official Omarosa Manigault and veteran journalist April Ryan (of the American Urban Radio Network) has catapulted the subterfuge to explicit new heights, bringing to light the possibility that journalists critical of the new president are being tracked by members of Trump's team.

Ryan tells the Washington Post that Omarosa said Trump is keeping "dossiers" on several African American journalists. Ryan claims Omarosa shared this in the heat of a disagreement the two had which nearly got physical. (The tension stems from Omarosa’s claims that Ryan was a Clinton surrogate; Ryan vehemently denies any journalistic bias.)

Omarosa replied to the Washington Post report by calling it "Fake news!" though she didn’t specify which part, if any, she contested.

In the past, Omarosa has suggested Trump is keeping "a list of opponents," though if Ryan’s account is true, it is the first explicit insinuation of a program of afrocentric surveillance.

Collecting intel on critics and adverse journalists is the sort of chilling tactic authoritarian intelligence agencies and governmental institutions employ to intimidate and suppress the free press, but the notion that Trump is specifically targeting the black media opens up a whole new lane of concern for an administration which has struggled to distance itself from allusions and allegations of white nationalism.

If Trump calls the media the "opposition party," and if these "dossiers" really do exist, where does this leave the black media? And what's the path forward?

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