My Letter to The Diplomat in the Wake of My Vindication


Categorie: Blog Business, David Axe, The Diplomat |
Tags: ,


At the height of the controversy over my recent story in The Diplomat about Special Forces in North Korea, I stepped down from my role as a regular blogger for the Japan-based publication. I did so in part to draw heat away from a publication I was proud to work for. Besides, they were probably on the verge of firing me.

The Diplomat retracted my story. But even after the Pentagon on FOUR OCCASIONS admitted I had been accurate in my reporting, The Diplomat did not retract its retraction or publish any defense of me at all. Still, I asked about getting my blogging job back. The reply was — how shall I put this? — a little bit soft.

So I withdrew my request for my job back. And in my reply I said, among other things, this:

I’ve traveled on my own dime to report for you. I’ve reported from war zones for you. I’ve been shot at and blown up chasing stories for you. And perhaps most importantly, I’ve linked to relevant Diplomat stories in my writing for Wired, AOL and other publications, driving thousands of readers to your site who otherwise would not have known about it. And when things got difficult, what happened? I took all the heat. You and the rest of The Diplomat staff ran for cover. Cowards.

Far be it from me to dictate my readers’ news-consumption, but I humbly advise that The Diplomat is now well beneath your standards.


18 Responses to “My Letter to The Diplomat in the Wake of My Vindication”

  1. I think you handled this situation with integrity and grace.

  2. David Axe says:

    Seriously? ‘Cause I was trying to handle it with rage.

  3. Rage/integrity… It’s all the same in some circles. Nonetheless, I was one of those readers who wouldn’t have read The Diplomat hadn’t it been for you… In fact I only read it for you. In hindsight it’s kind of silly since I always read your stuff on here anyway.

    At any rate as a blogger I look to for inspiration I thank you for standing up to your beliefs once again… I’ll have to put this into my ‘blogging lessons learned’ book.

  4. Kyle Mizokami says:

    Where to now, boss?

  5. Ripberger says:

    Just a suggestion, but Vice has done some interesting news reports from far-flung and dangerous place (i.e. The Vice Guide to North Korea, Balkans, Liberia, Gaza Strip etc.). Maybe they could use your talents since The Diplomat will not?

  6. Tim says:

    Hell yeah. Eff them.

  7. loic says:

    bump on the vice suggestion

  8. David Axe says:

    A Carnival cruise ship.

  9. Alejandro says:

    Beat me to it.

  10. loic says:
    Indispensable cruise buddy

  11. Oro Invictus says:

    I’m sorry to hear that The Diplomat hasn’t been more supportive of you in these matters; I’ve been a (relatively) long-time commentator there and am disappointed that a site that usually offers such a wide range of views and (generally) isn’t overly timid about what it allows as articles would censor you as such (and let’s not get into the more… Ahem… “Special” comments they allow to be posted).

    Granted, I don’t know all the circumstances surrounding this incident, but I’m guessing that the rather tense nature of events in the Asia-Pacific (magnifying how much negative attention any inaccurate reports get), as well as the always sensitive topic of American actions in regards to North Korea, made the staff overly cautious about any sort of faux paus, real or perceived. Still, if it counts for anything, they did at least mention Pentagon’s vindication of your quotes as an update on their “clarification” piece (though, even if they aren’t willing to repost your article, they should at least offer an apology for all this).

    Personally, I’ll still be using The Diplomat as I still think they’re a pretty good site, but these events have certainly left a negative impression on me; if there’s a repeat of this sort of incident, however, I will definitely rethink my readership of said site. In any case, once again, I’m sorry to hear of your plight and your contributions to The Diplomat will be missed.

  12. Valparaiso says:

    I think Vice is a good idea, too. They’re pretty strange, though. Be prepared for that.

  13. David Axe says:

    I’ve written for Vice before. I’m familiar with their … ethos.

  14. Paralus says:

    Yet another reader of the Diplomat who would have never heard of it if it weren’t for Mr. Axe.

  15. schuultz says:

    Mind elaborating on what you mean with “their… ethos.”

  16. David Axe says:

    They try very hard to be edgy, but it can all be rather fake.

  17. [...] the General and set this all in motion is David Axe, who caused a firestorm and was pressured to resign from The Diplomat over the story. His quote was then found out to be [...]

  18. [...] the General and set this all in motion is David Axe, who caused a firestorm and was pressured to resign from The Diplomat over the story. His quote was then found out to be [...]

Leave a Reply