Two years ago in D.C., I had drinks with two founding members of Blackfive, a popular conservative military blog. Jim Hanson, who goes by the handle “Uncle Jimbo” at the blog , pitched me his idea for a private, Internet-based intelligence organization that would use young freelance writers as field agents. With their journalism credentials as cover, the writers would gather data for use by U.S. government agencies.
It was, I said, the worst idea I’d heard in a long time. Recruiting reporters as spies would blur the line between neutral journalists and partisan intelligence agents, endangering both the reporters and the principle of a free press. Hanson disagreed. He said it was about time that journalists started serving their countries. Objectivity, he said, wasn’t enough.
A few months later, Hanson left a comment on this blog:
Hey what’s up chump? Seems like nobody reads your BS and that is progress. Since I didn’t get you killed by inviting you to play with the big boys, you just keep up your propaganda. Soros rules.
Later, when I wrote about that strange evening in D.C., Hanson emailed me:
Not only are you wrong on your ass-umptions [sic], but you completely misrepresented what I spoke to you about. Make a point of not mentioning my name any more, you f***ing punk.
When I mentioned the incident a second time, I got text messages from one of Hanson’s friends, warning me that Blackfive might be planning some kind of punitive action against me — what, they didn’t say. My response: “Bring it on.” After lots of near misses courtesy of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Al Shabab and the Chadian army, I’m really itching for a stand-up fight.
All this is to say, Blackfive is not just a tacky blog, it’s actually dangerous — the kind of forum that encourages violence and hatred. Don’t believe me? In a recent post discussing the U.S. national debt, Blackfive blogger “Crush” all but advocated the violent overthrow of the U.S. government:
The federal government has done more damage to this country than if the Soviet Union had invaded during the Cold War. Now if we captured members of the Red Army, there would be military tribunals and they would be shot. I am NOT advocating such treatment for our elected officials. However, we should realize the gravity of the situation our nation finds itself thanks to their lust for power.
Now War Is Boring pal Craig Hooper is calling for a “blogger intervention” for Blackfive. “I’m worried that guys who find community and strength in Blackfive.net’s stock-and-trade of anti-government rhetoric will act upon what they read,” Hooper wrote after right-wing extremists killed two policemen in Arkansas:
If we — the responsible people — don’t do anything now, how will we feel when a vet in government service (or one of us, even) is killed by a vet who consumed too much of the stuff Blackfive.net produces? Intervene. Join me.