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20k Subs Milestone Reached: A Big Thank You
Well, we’ve finally done it—the mother of all milestones: 20,000 total subscribers! And I couldn’t have done it without you all.
I’d like to thank everyone for the continued support and for creating a lively community. We reached the 5k milestone back in March 3, a mere month after starting the site:
Then there was the 10k milestone on May 24:
And now 20k, which I always thought would be the ceiling for this sort of thing, as that seemed roughly where the leading accounts in our niche ‘topped out’ at. But who knows, maybe we’ll keep climbing? Perhaps the sky’s the limit, after all.
I’d like to share a few obligatory reflections on this occasion.
After hitting 20k, I’m naturally drawn to consider if there’s anything new that should be added to our repertoire here, perhaps new avenues or directions to open up to, etc. The only thing I can say for now is that there’s a strong chance of a long fall-winter lull coming up in Ukraine, so should that be the case, I will likely focus much more on longer form research-style articles, historical pieces, and the like. I already have a big one in the pipeline whose release I was trying to time with the 20k milestone, but will be a little delayed. Expect more of that sort of thing.
However, I’m also open to new suggestions of what you’d like to see more—or less—of. I’ll include a poll here, however in the comments feel free to give some constructive criticism/feedback on what we can improve. Worry not, I don’t mean to change much but rather it’s a continual attempt to have my finger on the pulse of the readership. Based on suggestions I may consider accommodating certain types of topics we haven’t broached yet, etc., particularly if it’s something I too find exciting.
Speaking of which, I had planned to make this post a milestone celebration + reader’s mailbag in one, but I realized I wanted the comments open to everyone on this one so that all subscribers could chime in, particularly with any suggestions as I had requested. But that means a few hours after this one I’ll probably make a separate post for the subscriber’s mailbag, so apologies in advance for the incoming double email.
Lastly, I’d like to use a recent “criticism” to point out something which may constitute a sort of quasi-“ethics statement” on my behalf. Someone recently stormed out in a rage in the comments after accusing me of being “biased toward Russia” in the tone of my reporting, and implied this is hypocritical of being a “journalist.” I’ve gotten several emails over the course of my stint here from a few people also asking me “Why do you support Russia?” or some variation of “Why do you support Putin’s illegal/barbaric/[insert insipid derogation here] war?”
Let me say that, first of all, in doing this—whatever this is that I do here—I’ve never once presumed to call myself a “journalist.” Nor would I deign to include myself amongst such a louche, villainous, and disreputable a confraternity. What is journalism, anyway? Is it where the guy sponsored by Pfizer, Raytheon, BlackRock, et al, reads you a heavily laundered and sanitized script from a teleprompter, spinning the pre-written narrative approved in some backroom at last week’s CFR/WEF shindig?
I’ve got news for you. Journalism doesn’t exist, and unless someone can prove otherwise, has never existed, as far as I’m concerned—at least not in terms of the hallowed ideal some people have of it.
It’s a fraudulent profession catering to multinational corporations who probably invented it for the sake of creating ‘perception-management’ stenographers to spew out boilerplate crap that serves the currently fashionable establishment agenda. Journalists are nothing more than publicists for their corporate sponsors. Sure, there’ve been a few in the “good ol’ days” who “went off script” once or twice, perhaps after losing it. But for the majority of their career they still operated within a narrowly defined Overton window.
This leads me to convey that despite making no excuses for any inherent “bias” I may have, one thing I believe is at the core of this blog’s success is that it happens to be one of the most ideologically open-minded and impartial when it comes to covering the truth from both perspectives. Analysts/bloggers/what-have-you on both sides usually stick to the party script, particularly on the Ukrainian side because they have the least leeway and tightest tolerances for ‘truth’, seeing as how the propaganda campaign is virtually the only thing keeping their country afloat. This explains why guys like Julian Rocpke are given no quarter when they even remotely go off-script.
On the Russian or “Z-Anon” side, as it’s sometimes called, there’s a far greater allowance for variance, but we do still see a tendency for sugarcoating or sometimes unjustified optimism. I think what sets my reporting apart from most is that I refuse to toe the line dogmatically on one side or the other. Despite having great respect for most of what he does, I don’t messianically worship Putin, for instance, as I don’t put my faith in any politicians of the world. Nor do I messianically follow the completely un-corroborated script on people like Shoigu, that we’re supposed to blindly hate without reason, despite the overwhelming evidence showing that he’s actually doing his job.
Even when the Prigozhin saga transpired, I saw the arguments from both sides. Prigozhin had many valid complaints about the Russian general staff, however he also used them to mask more selfish and devious motivations. You’ll never see me blindly worshipping any one figure, and I generally give both sides to any story.
It’s a type of genuine honesty that I don’t think my “detractors”—like the one mentioned earlier—will find in reportage elsewhere, particularly on the Ukrainian side. You can be sure that here we will only be reporting the truth, with all its warts. If and when a time comes that I actually think Russia has blundered or is losing, I will say so freely. In fact, I’ve already been one of—if not the—only Z-slanted accounts which has expressed open doubt about some of the conflict’s potential directions.
For instance, despite how well things are going for Russia now, I’ve stated multiple times that I still do fear the possibility—low as it may be—that Putin could eventually cave to pressure and sign a type of ‘Khasavyurt Accords’. I don’t always see things as rosily as some of my colleagues. But because of that, you can trust that when I do report on a given scenario—like the odds in a particular disputed frontline—it will be with the cold hard facts, not slanted toward giving Russia the de facto upper hand just “because.”
At the end of the day, though I may be biased, you’re not wont to find a less biased source anywhere else. And if you do, please share it in the comments as I myself would love to add it to my daily reads, as I’m sure would others.
But to answer the question: am I a journalist?
No, I have more self-respect than that!
At risk of invoking a jinx…here’s to 30k!
And for those who haven’t joined the fray yet, why wait? Subscribe today to a paid pledge so that you can tell your friends you were here from the beginning once we hit new stratospheric heights!
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