To say the least, my mail’s been a little negative lately.
I get about 1,000 e-mails a day, not including the junk and after the
filters. Very few have been wishing me a happy New Year.
I’m being blamed for fanning the flames of Y2K hysteria, profiteering
from doom and gloom and sensationalizing the technology problem. Many
have demanded I apologize to the public.
Forgive me for my incredulity, friends, but I don’t think I have
anything for which to apologize. In fact, all in all, I’m pretty proud
of our Y2K coverage over the past year or so.
Let me explain.
Our coverage of the Y2K issue has focused almost exclusively on how
the government — particularly the federal government — was preparing
to handle potential technology problems. We closely examined the way
those plans — which did indeed include the possibility of declaring
martial law — might impact our civil liberties, our basic freedoms, our
rights as American citizens.
I not only continue to believe this was the right thing to do, I
believe it served a noble public purpose — even though the technology
problem itself never materialized as a serious threat. I said it over
and over in my columns over the past year: my main concern with Y2K was
always with the possibility of government overreaction.
I don’t know about you, but I thank God that the Y2K bug never gave
the government an excuse to burn the Constitution. It could have
happened. Had the lights gone out, the government was standing by with
troops. I’m so grateful that President Clinton, who has demonstrated his
contempt for basic American rights, wasn’t tested — either by a
breakdown in technology or by the government’s own hype about terror
What would I do differently had I known the bug was a butterfly
rather than a bumblebee? Not a thing insofar as the way we wrote and
presented those stories. We can learn a great deal from them — and
should. There will be other threats in the future to our safety and
security. No question about it. It’s good to know just how far the
government might overreach.
On the charge of profiteering, I also plead not guilty. Many Y2K
suppliers know full well that WorldNetDaily was not a site that would
accept just any and all paid advertising for “survival” products and
services. In fact, we turned down more than we accepted. We were very
And, if it’s any consolation, we as a company and I personally took
the Y2K threat very seriously. We invested in generators, fuel, food,
etc. Am I angry? No. Do I feel hoodwinked? No. Am I blaming anyone? No.
I still think it was a sound investment.
True, the power grid did not break down Jan. 1. But that doesn’t mean
there won’t be power outages in the future — locally, perhaps even
regionally. I feel good about being prepared for that eventuality. I’m
glad the Y2K threat prompted me to get ready for the next bad storm,
earthquake or other natural or man-made disaster that strikes.
Am I disappointed the power didn’t go out? Certainly not. Am I
surprised? No. I never said it would. I’m not in the prediction
business. I’m in the news business. Am I embarrassed about anything? Not
at all. WorldNetDaily provided a forum for all points of view on Y2K –
from total skeptics like columnist Harry Browne, who was pummeled, by
the way, by WorldNetDaily readers for suggesting many months ago that
the bug was beatable,
to responsible preparedness experts such as Michael
So, I’m a little baffled. I’m a little concerned that Americans don’t
want to hear about potential threats. That’s what good reporting is all
about. We never told you to head for the hills, friends. Get a grip.
As I said yesterday, nobody is more pleased than me that the power
grid survived intact. Nobody is more pleased than me that
telecommunications didn’t break down. Nobody is more pleased than me
that the Internet was not affected. I run a young and growing high-tech
company. This is great news.
So smile. Or, if you prefer to blame people for hyping a disaster
that never materialized, blame the guys in government who were ready,
willing and able to steal your freedom in a worst-case scenario.