The Fifth Column responds to reader questions

Washington, DC (TFC) – The Fifth Column receives questions, comments, and attacks from readers on an almost daily basis. Here are some of the most common questions followed by answers from TFC staff.

Why did you name your outlet “The Fifth Column”? Don’t you know that means traitor? Well, the meaning of the term is really about any small group attempting to undermine a larger group from within. We are the media’s fifth column. We seek to undermine corporate/government controlled media anywhere we find it. We have also received quite a few messages that say the name is appropriate because we have attacked some closely held belief of a reader in a certain country, and therefore we are traitors. TFC is not a national news outlet. Google Analytics tells us we have been read in every country on the planet. We have journalists and affiliates all over the world. We are not here to support a particular government’s agenda. The outlet does not have an allegiance to any particular government. Who exactly did we betray?

Why don’t you have a “TFC Project” about subject X? The project pages are experiments designed to provide readers with constant coverage of specific topics, even if that coverage isn’t from TFC. We currently have four project pages: The Case for an Independent Kurdistan, Beneath the Watchtowers of Palestine, Eye Contact Newsfeed, and Infiltrated Art. The response has been very positive and we will likely set up more pages in the future. As soon as we have the resources, we will likely set up project pages to provide in-depth coverage of Ireland, Anonymous, Native American issues, and political prisoners from around the world. We’re open to other suggestions. We’ve been asked about setting up a police accountability page. While it is a topic we cover frequently, we don’t see the need to reinvent the wheel. Cop Block, Filming Police, Cop Watch, Photography is not a Crime, and many others do a great job of providing constant coverage of the issue. The same applies to a GMO-specific project.

Why don’t you have a philosophy section? Our Viewpoints and Counterpoint sections allow our journalists and readers to express their personal philosophies, but we are primarily a news site. If you are looking for philosophy and content that is on the edge, try Era of Wisdom. It’s a new site and the brainchild of Cassius Methyl.

Your outlet is inconsistent in its views. Sometimes it’s liberal, sometimes it’s conservative. Good. We’re glad you noticed. One of the major problems with the media today is the habit of outlets pandering to their readers. We go out of our way to provide coverage that is fact-based; facts rarely line up with ideology. We also actively pursue journalists that can bring different ideologies to the outlet. The only two topics that all of our journalists seem to be in agreement are Palestine and Gun control. We’ve tried to recruit people to present the Israeli side of the conflict or to present an anti-gun stance, we haven’t had anybody willing to give it a shot.

You have too many ads. The ads are currently our only source of revenue. We try to keep them to a minimum. We do not accept grants or corporate sponsorship, which is the reason we can cover the topics we do. We owe no government or company. Other funding models, such as a subscription service, limit the flow of information to only those who can afford it. We want our information to reach as many people as possible.

Can I republish a TFC article? Of course. If the article is originally TFC content, it will begin with “(TFC)” at the beginning of the article. You are more than welcome to use that content. There’s not even a need to ask for permission. We would like credit and a link back, but we’ve never pursued that. If the article originates with a different outlet, it will have a different designation in parenthesis at the beginning. While TFC has worked out content sharing agreements with some outlets, many of the articles we republish are under a creative commons license. Just click the designation, and check that site’s republishing terms. Most of them are as simple as ours.

Can you write a Tradecraft article on subject X? If the topic is defensive in nature, send us the idea. If it offensive in nature, probably not. While we have linked to material about explosives for research and information purposes in the past, we can’t in good conscience provide details on how to use them (even in defensive scenarios). The only person we have on staff that could accurately provide that information has flatly refused saying, “It’s math. The same formulas used to knock down a tree to protect against flooding can be used to bring down buildings and kill people.”

Why don’t you have a mailing list? While we’re certain the security services of various countries can track who visits our site, we don’t want to make it easier for them.

How do I get a T-shirt? We had no idea that people would be that interested in obtaining TFC shirts. Currently, we only give the shirts away to randomly selected readers who happen to be active on the TFC Facebook page or at events where TFC journalists are present. Don’t worry though, we will soon have a line of TFC merchandise.  We only select those who are active on the page because some of our content is controversial. If someone has followed the page, but doesn’t want to advertise the fact that they do, we don’t want to blast their name out over the internet.

Why doesn’t your masthead list all of your journalists? Because Justin King is lazy and hasn’t updated it in a quite a while.

How can I help?  This is the best question to see in an email. Our outlet isn’t even 9 months old yet, and we’re growing every day. We’ve added a few new journalists this week The most valuable thing you can do is invite your friends to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, share articles, and help get the word out about the outlet. On average we gain a little more than 2,000 new readers each month. That rate of growth is more than we ever could have expected. All of the normal social media interactions are what is causing that growth. You may not realize it, but you already are helping. So keep the comments, like, tweets, shares, and so on coming. Seriously, we can’t thank you enough.

If you want to write for us, just send us a writing sample through the TFC jobs page.