In our August-September issue, before we went on hiatus while editor Bill Weinberg was on assignment in South America, we asked our readers “Whither World War 4 Report?,” requesting feedback on whether we should continue publication. Is there a place, despite our discouraging fund-raising efforts, for “a daily digest of the GWOT news from around the world, with exacting journalistic standards and a progressive neither/nor perspective equally unsparing on imperialism and the jihad”? Our Exit Poll was: “Will anybody notice if World War 4 Report ceases publication?” We received the following responses:
From Joseph Jeffrey, somewhere in cyberspace:
Hi there Bill Weinberg,
So, I am finally forcing myself to sit down and write to you. I am sorry this took so long, but I am fairly nervous about opening lines of communication with people, especially ones I can’t see. But I have been looking at your site since I found it about four years ago, and you definitely deserve to know that you have been doing a wonderful job. I am currently packing up to go to grad school, but while I was in college just reading your headlines was enough to give me solid lines of investigation to follow and improve my knowledge of world affairs, never mind some of the more interesting material I usually find in your monthly releases. I will be sending you what I can afford before I leave the country. I don’t really know what to tell you about what you are doing wrong, because I don’t really think you are doing anything wrong. I really do think you provide a great service by staying up, and I hope you manage to keep everything going while doing your other work in Peru (a little selfish, I know, but I check your site a lot).
I don’t actually remember how I found your site. It could have been that I was googling the term “world war four” after hearing it in a Subcomandante Marcos speech or something. That might be it you know, maybe you need to be linked in through some more vibrant networks, or maybe just renew some of your older links with something that looks slightly different to catch people’s eyes who were just used to seeing it. Anyway, I’ll stop wasting your time. I just wanted to thank you. And to answer this month exit poll, at least I will notice (and be both saddened and missing out on important information)… And whether you continue this project or not, I wish you all the best in your next project!
From Steven, also somewhere in cyberspace:
Hi, I enjoy your writing every time I swing by. I think I’ve never become a regular reader, though, because I wasn’t really sure what WW4 Report was, and the name and colors made me think it was some neo-Nazi or Larouchist type site. Obviously I never took the time to really poke around and discover. I think rather than stop your valuable thinking and writing, if you want more readers, you might consider hitching yourself to a larger site if you can find one that will let you write what you want. In any case thanks for writing. I enjoyed your Peru bus ride story! So true. I’m off to Peru in a few days and that reminds me well of the last time I was there. Somewhere in Bolivia we were stopped in the night and the Quechua women were, again, targeted, this time for illegally importing fabrics. Big bundles of polar fleece, which is forbidden in Bolivia to protect (ironically) indigenous textile-making. My experience was that the Bolivian police didn’t have as fascist a manner as the Peruvian ones, but the story is the same everywhere.
Anyway good luck and take care.
World War 4 Report replied by e-mail: Thanks for your comments. Red and black are the colors of anarchism, not fascism. What is “polar fleece”?
Yup, you are right. Still, red, black and white have been the colors of the German right wing since at least the 19th century. Polar fleece is the generic term for lightweight polyester felt; brand names include PolarTek.
From “Prairie Dog,” somewhere in Nebraska:
Exit Poll: Will anyone notice if World War 4 Report ceases publication?
Yes, but that should not be a reason to kill it or to continue it.
Maybe you should ask:
Are you tired of doing it?
Is there something else that you think would be more relevent or productive that you would prefer to do?
Why did you start it?
Did it achieve what you wanted it to do?
Has the time for it passed and other things need to be done instead?
Can I do something else better?
Should I continue because it is the right thing to do?
Are the reasons it has low financial return because of the report or because of the depression we are in?
Has the report been flexible enough to appeal to a broader base?
Prairie Dog from Nebraska
World War 4 Report replies: Yes, tired of doing it—largely because of unimpressive reader response—but continue to feel compelled because we are convinced of its relevance. We started it to monitor media coverage of the War on Terrorism after 9-11. We think we did a good job of it, but our mission has expanded since then. We now seek, firstly, to provide coverage (including first-hand coverage) of the forgotten victims of the new global conflict—especially indigenous peoples and other stateless groups and ethnicities. Secondly, to provide a rigorous neither/nor perspective that cuts no slack for war criminals on either side of the spectacularized global showdown between imperialism and “terrorism.” And, thirdly, to provide a voice for anti-militarist forces in the countries under imperial assault that reject both occupation and political Islam, such as the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan and the Iraq Freedom Congress. Few others are doing this work. But this is because the mainstream left is unconcerned with—or outright hostile to—our issues and perspectives. Clearly, we have not been flexible enough to appeal to a broader audience, but we don’t see how to do this without betraying our mission.
From Kim Alphandary in San Diego:
The only suggestion I am able to make is by pointing you to a website that reached enormous success. The site went through different approaches.
see: Five years of Moon of Alabama – Time to close it down
The fellow has since shut the site down. But, from my analysis, I think there are two reasons for this. It would be enormous time in a direction that you perhaps are not willing to go, mind you.
2) encouraging viewer input. and very occasionally a post begging everyone to write in.
“Please add your links, views and news in the comments.”
3) sometimes he would feature someones comments, and encourage more analysis.
4) basically creating an atmosphere that encourages participation. the feeling of a group effort in seeking understanding of current events. goofy ideas were not dissed that i was aware of. just no energy given to them. it seems that facebook etc is on the rise because people need to participate. Create a safe environment for participants. More directly what i’m saying here is that there are times when you all tend to be judgmental, compassion for idiots might be yet another way of putting this.
ANYWAY. I hope this is some help. I do like your site. You continually present well researched, trustworthy information. Important in the internet/journalism world.
Chao, Kim Alphandary
World War 4 Report replies: We disagree with Moon of Alabama’s denial of the Darfur genocide. Does this make us judgmental? We ask our readers for feedback every month, and they (you) are welcome to post comments to the Daily Report every day. But if being more participatory means going soft and fluffy, that is, once again, a betrayal of our mission.
From Stephen Thompson in Hyattsville, Maryland:
I would certainly notice it if you stopped publishing. Many of the difficult questions that you have tried to address have been ignored by the other news outlets (both radical and corporate). For this reason, I find most leftist news sources (other than WW4 Report) to be not only dishonest, but also very boring to read, since challenging issues are not dealt with. There does not seem to be a substitute for the work that you do. Even if you don’t continue the monthly thing, please continue to update the daily report when you get a chance.
Best wishes for your trip to Peru,
World War 4 Report replies: Stephen, many thanks for your comments. It is the rare reader like you who “gets” what we do that makes it all worthwhile.
From Frank Connelly, New York City:
I’ll notice if WW4 Report goes away. I greatly enjoy MORC and greatly value Bill Weinberg’s work. Bill is one of the few journalists with the credibility to actually influence and educate my opinions. I often disagree, but at least I know why.
It is my loss when I don’t find the motivation to follow up on the stories and issues which are raised on this website. I can choose to have a 5 minute porno-attention span or I can decide to push past the mass distractions they bombard us all.
Thanks Bill … I hope to support you in the future in whatever endeavors your heart leads you to pursue.
From John Little, somewhere in cyberspace:
I personally like your website and I have it marked as one of my favs. I visit it regularly to cull news that I can’t find elsewhere, or to corroborate news that I find elsewhere that seem dubious. You provide a valuable and great service.
I myself have a small forum. There is one person who posts a regular newsletter on the Palestinian issue which is sometimes featured on WRH. Nevertheless, there is really no one posting there but myself, ladybat with her newsletter, and the webmaster (occasionally). There are only about 100 views per day max on that site.
I also have a site, Peace Ring, where I highlight people’s pages I find that are good, but receive scant viewing (usually less than 50 per vid or per month). It takes time to maintain both sites and I often feel like no one really cares. But I also remind myself, I CARE. If nothing else, I am providing information that I feel is valid and necessary. I may never make a difference, but no one can say that I never tried. I pay for these sites, I maintain them, I provide the content, and I ask nothing of those who read and/or post, well, basically who read.
Personally, I’ve been out of work for two years. My financial commitment to my sites have been minimal to say the least, but I do so voluntarily and with the knowledge that I may be doing nothing more than pissing in the wind. I strongly suggest continuing with your good work. If there are financial concerns, then so be it, but where possible, do what you can to inform others of the truth. I will continue reading your material and using it where I can to do my share.
As goes the famous quote, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
I am not a member of that nothing group.
World War 4 Report replies: WhatReallyHappened is pretty wacky.
From Neil, somewhere in cyberspace:
I just started reading your reports a few months ago and appreciate the level of focus. I am treating this as one of my news portals. I have no $$$ however if you need anything in the way of “paperwork” then I have time and could use the experience.
From Brian Sherman, somewhere in cyberspace:
Hola, ww4 Report,
I would miss you if you stopped publication.
I appreciate your choice of international articles
I’ve just addressed an envelope and will put a check in it and mail it.
I look forward to reading your reports about Peru.
World War 4 Report replies: Brian, many thanks for the check!
From Sumana, somewhere in Ecuador:
As a very recent (like today) reader of your site, I would notice. I plan to either Bookmark or figure out how to get you into Google Reader. Keep it up! I live in Ecuador and have done the same bus trip (sans air conditioning).
The remainder were all rather pithy. From Monroe Jeffrey, somewhere in cyberspace:
just wanted to say that I like the format and nature of articles.
From Rae Streets, somewhere in cyberspace:
Yes, a few will.
From Rob, somewhere in cyberspace:
Note that we put the same question to our readers not quite two years ago. Please feel free to weigh in below…
See our last Exit Poll results.