Bill Corcoran, author of Corksphere, a blog that tracks America’s wars, talks about why he’s winding down the blog after 5 years.
There has been a sharp decline in readership, and he’s finding it harder to get the information he needs.
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Aaron Schachter: I’m Aaron Schachter and this is The World, a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI, and WGBH-Boston. [battle sounds] US troops in Afghanistan continue to do battle with insurgents on a daily basis. [battle sounds] That’s the sound from a video showing a nighttime firefight in Khost, eastern Afghanistan. It’s the kind of footage we Americans don’t see much on TV any more. One of the most reliable places to find such videos and news from the war is the blog Corksphere, but not for much longer. Its editor, Bill Corcoran, says he’s winding the blog down due to lack of interest. Corcoran served in the Korean War, then worked as a reporter and columnist for various papers before starting Corksphere four years ago.
Bill Corcoran: What got me going was I was finding it, as a veteran myself, I was finding it more and more difficult to get information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The mainstream media was not covering the wars and I felt that the American public deserves more information than they’re getting.
Schachter: Well, Bill Corcoran, you’re 83 years old. Are you just tired of doing this? Are you fed up? Why stop?
Corcoran: Yeah, I am, I’m tired. You know, it’s kind of a futile thing. I feel kind of like I’m sweeping the ocean back with a broom or something. There’s just no, there’s just not the interest there that there used to be, and not on my part, but on the public’s part.
Schachter: Do you understand that lack of interest? Because even here, I know it’s frustrating. You talk about the mainstream media. Do you feel like after a certain time you’re saying the same thing over and over when you talk about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Corcoran: Right, exactly.
Schachter: Do you understand public fatigue?
Corcoran: Oh, absolutely, I definitely can understand it, and again, it’s in its twelfth year now. There’s only so many ways you can say a car bomb went off today, or a suicide attack took place. And I think either, I don’t know if this is on purpose, by design, or whether it’s something that’s just happening, but the Department of Defense or whoever releases all this stuff, you’re limited on what you can get any more. Probably the one thing that bothers me more than anything is the information on troops when they are injured or, worse yet, killed, it’s very hard to find out if they’re from the United States or whether they’re Australian or who they’re with.
Schachter: I wonder if, you were in the military yourself, in Korea, which you’ve called the forgotten war.
Schachter: I wonder if it angers you at all that the military is so tight-lipped about what goes on in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Corcoran: Yeah, I am. I definitely am. I feel that there should be more transparency. I don’t see any reason to keep it so quiet and hidden right now. I think they’d just as soon see it disappear altogether and when they phase this thing out, it’ll be like somebody will wake up one day and say, I haven’t heard anything on that Afghanistan war for a while. And then they’ll say, oh, that’s because we pulled out of there three months ago or so.
Schachter: Right. Bill, thanks for joining us.
Corcoran: Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure.
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