Talk:The Fiscal Times

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Criticism section[edit]

I deleted the criticism. The citations are a joke and a slap in the face to what wikipedia should be about. Everyday wikipedia loses credibility with trash citations and closed minded discussions that bog down intelligent and careful posting

On topic-the citations deleted were from blogs with known political bias. Furthermore, and more importantly, the actual citations were not based on fact but conjecture. So too were the source information!


I reinstated the blanked criticism section. I'm sorry (no I'm not), but you can't seriously take off a section criticising this publication of being inherently biased, by arguing that I'm qouting publications which are biased against your bias. Am I confusing you?

Seeing as my criticism was first censored by user Jackieleo - coincidense, Fiscal Times editor is Jacqueline AKA Jackie Leo, I'd say I'm more of an independent editor in this case.

On topic - Alternet is not a blog, and its alleged bias is just the opposite / mirror side of your own. It's called ideology, and this is what this discussion is about. I wrote that the publication's affiliation with Peter Peterson comes with political, i.e ideological, ties. This was as a response to the first fiscaltimes-intiated value creation (qouting sans qoutation marks its own website) which called itself "non-partisan", and mentioned the recent economic crisis as impetus for its founding. Call it conjecture, but Peterson has considerable financial interest (and considerable resources) in advocating for a very specific and ideological political agenda, which he does, and The Fiscal Times is just the latest of his mouth pieces (Debt Watch?).

Dear editors, give this community more credit when you walk in the door and edit your own publication's value. And don't carry on your attitude of taking the world for idiots when you first delete criticism in panic under your own name, then send someone else to carry on the job under anonymous IPs. Remember Virgil? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Joeav (talkcontribs) 01:52, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Neutralizing article[edit]

Following on an e-mail to the Wikimedia Foundation, this article has been edited in the hopes of neutrally presenting material, both critical and positive. The description of the paper as an "advocacy publication" has been removed. While sources may validate that this is an opinion held by some, it cannot be presented as established fact. In this edit, balance was added by removing the "controversy" section in accordance with WP:STRUCTURE to ensure that the opinions of critics are not accorded more weight than that of supporters. Sourceable material has been contextualized and incorporated into the history, with alternative view brought in for balance. This is necessary for maintaining WP:NPOV. Language has also been neutralized. For example, "forced a response" (which implies reluctance) has been replaced with "prompted a response" (which does not). If review of these actions is desired, we can list the matter at WP:NPOVN for additional input, but content should not be restored as it was in the meantime as there are WP:BLP concerns here with material prior to my first edit. (See Wikipedia:OTRS#Disagreeing with a team-related edit for more). Incorporating criticism is a valid and important function of Wikipedia, as we seek to neutrally cover topics of interest to our readers, but sometimes it is necessary to discuss how to do so fairly without seeming to adopt a position ourselves. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:51, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

Questioning Neutrality[edit]

I'm at least relieved that the editing is now serious. The above history has not been professional and this current shift is a welcome one after the previous back and forth edits. However as for neutrality, I beg to differ. Were it I to stop this dispute by contacting Wikipedia 'authorities', the balance would have had to be against the recent pro-fiscal times edit, and thus neutrality would have been for example to reinstate a clear criticism section, albeit with certain 'correcting'.

I am not a professional news person, nor am I being paid for this crusade. Jackieleo and the other anonymous ips are associated with the Fiscal Times. I do not have their resources, so when I'm not familiar with Wikipedia procedures (technically a 'bureaucracy', however benign), and I see my edits as reactions to a self-interested entry, I see it appropriate to work as an automat and not to begin a new process. The Fiscal Times have employees that can do this.

As result, this recent edit would be more welcome for Fiscal Times than it should be with people concerned with the proper use of Wikipedia as an independent community tool. Businesses creating, embellishing and protecting their own controversial entries are not native members of this community. They are interested parties. As long as an entry can clearly be shown to have been dominated by an interested party (jackieleo), any subsequent edit that comes as a direct response is completely appropriate. When texts have been copied without reference from the their website, it is justified to have criticism that answers directly to claims of non-partisanship (copied word for word from by contrasting it with existing arguments saying the publication is part of an advocacy network.

As long as you go to great lengths to resolve this dispute, by actually rewriting many of the sections, or recontextualizing by way of removal, then please pay mind to the fact that there probably could have still been a "criticism" section without hurting the 'structure' or integrity of the entry. News sources linking this publication which runs a "debt watch" section with other Peterson funded advocacy operations dealing specifically with national debt could be quoted as arguing that advocacy is taking place, not just bias.

Wikipedia itself is in spirit meant to work as a balance to institutional and interested information sources. It has become perhaps the most important such balance. When it becomes clear that now interested parties manage their own entries, it is the role of the community to make sure every such entry is equipped with an unmovable criticism section. A criticism section gives voice to controversiality. Not having one, or contextualizing criticism within 'history', whitewashes criticisms into noncontroversial sections. Just think of the Environmental Record section on the ExxonMobil entry being under History, with a neutralizing view to each point.

You should look into the fallacy of "neutrality" in the sciences. Sometimes neutrality is achieved through balancing an inherently imbalanced situation.

Regarding calling out people on self-editing, please take a look at WikiScanner#Wikipedia_reaction. I recall that at the time these self edits were mentioned in criticism sections. Checking now, it is disturbing to see that the Pepsico entry doesn't even have a criticism section. More to the point perhaps is the Conrad_Burns#Untoward_editing_of_Wikipedia section. Wikinews is the qouted source here, and it is part of the Wikimedia Foundation. Is it the foundation's policy to view Wikipedia manipulations by politicians more "wikinews" worthy than manipulation by self-legitimized news sources? I see your point of needing an external source, but where is the balance for the real-life editor of the Fiscal Times acting also as the main wikipedia editor for the fiscal times, in obvious conflict of interest? in handing them back their entry to play with? Joeav (talk) 01:33, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

I believe that you may be misunderstanding Wikipedia's purpose. Wikipdia is not here to balance institutional and interested information sources, but to represent "fairly, proportionately, and as far as possible without bias, all significant views that have been published by reliable sources." This is from one of our core content policies WP:NPOV. WP:STRUCTURE is part of that policy; it encourages "folding debates into the narrative, rather than isolating them into sections that ignore or fight against each other." A "criticism" section overwhelms this brief article and draws too much attention to what is only supported by a few sources without giving any attention whatsoever to opposing views. While it is important to ensure that interested parties do not remove valid, sourced criticism from articles, we also must ensure that our articles do not convey bias against them. The proper response to a positive bias is to move towards central; we must be careful not to go beyond. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 01:30, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
Generally, it's not recommended to change a talk page entry like this after it's been responded to, especially without making clear that you've done so. Please see WP:REDACT. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 01:40, 8 April 2011 (UTC)


I was going to edit this response again when I saw you reply. Please look at the final paragraph. I think there should be a change of emphasis when there is clear evidence that the person editing this entry is the same one editing its subject. I ask you to pause and consider what would you have done if you were contacted by 'the other side' after ciriticism was flatly undone. If I'm responding to what I view as a problematic situation by providing balance, why should it be my job to rewrite the entire thing from scratch just so my criticism is "folded into the narrative"? The starting point here is anything but neutral. The neutral setting wikipedia is meant to provide was already violated by the time community editors such as myself became involved. You are now asking me for the kind of work one should be paid for, which is already an imbalance where the wikipedia community will probably come out the looser because it is voluntary. The only change I'm asking for is that criticism be framed in a criticism section. To note, my original criticism was "folded into the narrative" and put into a "purpose" section (view history). When the narrative evolved and became increasingly difficult to unfold for refolding purposes, I put it in the criticism section, understanding that I can't keep creating new texts. I cannot fathom why proportions between criticism and other text should be part of the guidelines. I am not sure if they are. If this is a matter of subjective judgment, please reconsider or bring someone else in for a second opinion. Keep in mind that at times it has apparently reached some sort of concensus that entries should be more dominated by criticism. At times, wikipedia can't help but reflect public image, which is another social form of knowledge. For example, see again the ExxonMobil page where a word count would show you that more than half the text is actually criticism (environmental "record" implies criticism, and it is clear criticism through and through). Proportion here could be broadly accepted as proportionate. So I say you cannot escape making a call of judgment also in this case - does the claim of advocacy, when it relates to a purported "news source", justify a criticism section? would that be proportionate or not? If the Koch brothers tomorrow set up a Times caliber paper that clearly advocates for union busting, if they then create a wikipedia entry, and stress that they are without agenda whatsoever, if real-person jackie leo (whose personal entry was created by user jackieleo) was its editor and she undoes criticism using her own name, would it be proportionate to have it very visible that its neutrality is controversial at best, and that it should be suspected of bias? Wikipedia is still a community, not a contractual political body governed by law. The purpose of guidelines are not to serve as a de facto legal system that would undermine any sense of community apart from that of hard working contributors like yourself who earned their status. you cannot sterilize everything by being overly careful, and sometimes your judgments have to be a little more brave. If its only a matter of proportion, then use proportion as deterance. In the spirit of wikipedia, as expressed by the higher ups - look at the wikiscanner entry again. Joeav (talk) 02:23, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

There are three core content policies which inform Wikipedia articles. These pertain to verifiability ("The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth: whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true."), original research ("Wikipedia does not publish original thought: all material in Wikipedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source. Articles may not contain any new analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not clearly advanced by the sources."), and neutrality ("Editors must write articles from a neutral point of view, representing all significant views fairly, proportionately, and without bias."). While well-intentioned edits are appreciated from any quarter, content that is problematic under any one of these three policies is corrected when discovered. This is not a matter of "bravery" or lack thereof, but simple adherence to our basic principles.
We do not have any policy that permits for redressing what we see as positive bias by changing emphasis to the negative. If the Wikimedia Foundation had been contacted by 'the other side', I would have done precisely the same thing: balancing the article to the best of my ability. This is what we're here to do. You need not feel inconvenienced by this, or as though you are being required to do "the kind of work one should be paid for", as I have not asked you to do it.
In response to your last paragraph, added in above, every mention in WikiScanner#Wikipedia reaction is sourced to an independent reliable source, not to Wikipedia. This is appropriate. If the media picks up that an agency is editing its own article, we often will mention that. This is the case with Conrad Burns#Untoward editing of Wikipedia as well, although the link is now dead, which bears investigation. Until and unless there is media coverage, this is not suitable for inclusion.
Beyond this, there is the matter of our biographies of living persons policy; you are presuming that the individual who edited under that username is the person herself. This may be true, but it may not be. Wikipedia does not verify identity on account creation, and we do not assume unless proven that people are who they say they are here. There have been cases in the past of individuals editing under the names of public persons specifically to discredit them. Reliable sources are especially key when dealing with claims about living people. This is a policy that we do not compromise, ever.
In terms of "criticism" sections, I have linked you to the policy that discourages them: WP:STRUCTURE. Critical views of this entity have been retained, but are now placed in context with other material. Unsourced commentary has been removed. The degree of critical commentary in articles must be reflective of the balance of critical commentary on the entity as published in reliable sources; it is not reflective of the balance of public opinion or that of Wikipedia's editors.
I will be happy to request a second opinion. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 11:54, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Second opinion[edit]

(as requested) I've taken a look at the various versions of an article and the talk page. Basically, I agree with MRG's approach to this--as would be expected, because it is the usual approach here, and the sort of way she's trying to revise the article is the way we try to do articles on similar topics. There are two principles: Neutral point of view, and Verifiability. We dont at Wikipedia write articles to express our opinion about the subject; we neither try to promote it or to attack it, neither with respect to its quality or its viewpoint. The article should basically be the facts about the subject: the sort of media it is, the key people, the history of the publication, the affiliation with other people and groups. All of this can be presented in a very straightforward fashion,including the key details that are significant, whether any particular point tends to show the subject in a good light or otherwise is irrelevant . There information for this to a considerable extent can come from the source itself: the paper, and what it says about itself. We assume an organization to be accurate in its presentation of the basic data. However, if any of the points are controversial, then an outside reliable source is needed. It's also good to have an outside source regarding such central points as circulation and finances, and it's usually possible. To a certain extent, the presentation of this sort of neutral information about a good news source (or whatever) does inherently promote it, but this is inevitable--the difference from PR writing is that the material is not selected or organized towards that purpose. But if people merely wanted the basic facts, that's served by the web site

Wikipedia exists so people can use it for information. The needs of the reader are primary, and two of the key reasons a reader would come to an article like this is because they've heard of the site or seen a reference to it, and want to find out something about its reliability and its bias--it would be assumed by any reasonable outsider that every media outlet has a bias, and if by chance it doesn't--which I have never yet seen--it would be necessary to have extraordinarily good sources to prove it. In presenting this information, we cannot rely on what the site says about itself, although this is one of the necessary sources of information (and the "mission" section is usually a good place to put it, using quotation to get it to reflect the organization;s own view.). We need to present what outside reliable sources have said about it, In selecting the sources, we try to cover the spectrum of controversy, giving proportional coverage according to the prevailing opinions, but trying to cover all opinions about which there are good sources. The sources will sometimes be outside non-partisan experts, but often are partisan, and it is appropriate to indicate this. (There are also objective measures, such as awards--we include them as relevant. To some extent, the previous backgrounds of the principal figures is relevant here also: a new publication usually establishes its reliability by hiring known reliable reporters and editors. In presenting this information, we try to avoid criticism sections, especially if that name is used, but distribute the material according to topic. At the moment, it's in the history section, which is not in my opinion ideal. If there is enough material, there could be sections on Politics and on Affiliations, and if appropriate, on particular cause or celebrated examples. The detailled background of the people, however, belongs in articles about them, not here, though a summary for orientation needs to be given. It's very difficult to write summaries, because of the inability to express nuances. It's similarly difficult to write a lede paragraph, and can take some experimentation to find the right wording. I think the present balance for the 1st paragraph is fine, though I would move the 2nd and 3rd paragraph as sections below the table of contents.

The reason we have rules about Conflict of Interes is because experience shows that a person will have great difficulty writing an objective article about themselves or their organization. It's not impossible, but even with the best intentions, there are difficulties. A member of the organization or a press agent is automatically thinking in terms of the organization wishes to communicate to the public, but an uninvolved person will think in terms of what the public might wish to know. A good press agent knows not to completely surpress unfavorable material, but no one working for (or against) the organization can really decide how much emphasis to give it.

In general, the proper role of a member of the organization (or someone hostile to it) is to find sources. If relevant sourced material can be found, it will be added--in many cases, it's best done on the talk page. It also helps, of course, to update names and statistics, and this in my opinion can usually be done directly in the article, except in really antagonist situations--of which this is not one, as antagonism goes. People should declare their conflict of interest, on the talk p. They should not use a name that might be confused with the organization, because it give the false impression that the organization controls the article. No one person controls an article here--the community edits it according to established practices, and disputes are handled by involving other members of the community as necessary. It is usually good for people with different views to avoid referring to each other's POV on the talk p., and not emphasize their differences, but discuss matters in terms of the goal of the project, how to improve the article. And as one specific point, that the subject has edited its own article is not proper article content, unless reliable outside sources talk in a significant way about it. I do not think this is the case, and, most of the time, it never really becomes that encyclopedia-worthy. There is undoubtedly more to be said than this very brief article, especially as publication continues. But it must wait for the sources.

I made a few copyedits. I can't look at an article here without trying to improve it a little. DGG ( talk ) 00:10, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

my conclusion[edit]

You say that criticism has to be folded into the narrative. I explained that I did just that at first, taking material that was copied from the "about us" at, putting it in the appropriate qoutation marks, and into a new "purpose" section, since it dealt with purpose - maybe also because it used to be under "purpose" in the FT text, I can't remember. I then gave the opposite view, expressed in more than one reputable publication, that the fiscal times is a Peterson mouthpiece. This view is no longer present in the article. (I see now its in the first paragraph, referencing the NY times, which I didnt. ok. someone else is at work).

Leaving aside the identity of subsequent editors, my edit had been deleted and the context I used to add criticism was also taken out. So I saw it appropriate to add a criticism section. This because it is a fair assumption to make that I'm working against a paid person, that has the time to change the text over and over, forcing me to recontextualize criticism over and over.

At the moment, the "mission" section is that same purpose section that I put in qoutation marks, minus the criticism that was taken out. The reason I added the qoutation marks was that people know the source of this flattering text. As it stands, you still have an expression of quality and integrity refering to the fiscal times as non-partisan, which is meant to say trusted, or objective - all crucial attributes for a publication to be legitimate. This expression is based on the fiscal times' own website. Not neutral information. You say its normal to include what an organization says about itself under "mission", but when that includes claims of neutrality, and there are public views that point to this organization being anything but neutral - an advocacy tool, then including a dedicated critical section that would balance the dedicated promotional section becomes necessary. Sorry I can't qoute any guidelines article here, I'm not so experienced, but this is basic common sense.

Apparently the view taken by senior wikipedia staff after being contacted by someone to review this entry, is that the fiscal times can be trusted when it qoutes its own self proclamations about being trustworthy, but other publications which claim the opposite are not to be trusted as verifiable sources. Fiscal Times yes, Alternet no, Truthout no. Including these allegations in "History", and in this manner - "questions of bias in The Fiscal Times lingered in some quarters, with liberal news service AlterNet..." is seriously downplaying the tone of these allegations, also by way of belittling the sources. The New York Times, saying the same thing, is not qouted here.

My conclusion is that without putting into place a mechanism to monitor and control uses of wikipedia for PR purposes, the job of senior editors cannot be to serve as watchdogs for companies who first misuse wikipedia, then go on to cry about it. You did practically rewrite texts in this article, so why not rewrite it in a way that leaves in verifiable information sourced from alternet and truthout, in a criticism section? you might say that the texts I put in were increasingly inflamatory, but the style could have been corrected as far as the core information was not my own commentary.

As of yet, I still did not understand the "proportion" between criticism and "neutral" information to be anything but a matter of judgment. In this sense, your inteference and position regarding the inclusion of a "criticism" section is not warranted. Regardless of who initiated this article, and who has been editing it since, sourced views arguing that an organization calling itself a news source is actually a tool of advocacy are very serious and deserve to be more visible than where they currently stand. You have an article that says in bold letter "THIS IS A NORMAL NEWS SOURCE", and if its in wikipedia it must be true. I argue it is fitting to have a clear section that says otherwise. It is not your job, as I understand it, to dispute me on this.

you create a situation in which modest contributors to wikipedia are likely to be muscled out by interested parties. If you interefere in articles, you should be mindful of that. Joeav (talk) 22:23, 9 April 2011 (UTC)

You say, "The New York Times, saying the same thing, is not qouted here." That's because the content there is about "lingering" issues. The New York Times piece dates to 5 January; it's used as a source earlier in the history section as well as the lead, to which it was added in February. AlterNet has been retained as a source and even attributed inline. I removed Truthout because the pages would not load, but so as to avoid whitewashing instead found criticism from yet another reliable source: Center for Economic and Policy Research. I have also added The Hills contrary assertion that The Fiscal Times is "non-partisan" and "numbers-based".
You have been pointed multiple times to the policy discouraging sectioning out criticism. I don't believe I have anything new or different to say about that. You requested another opinion, and we now have one from another administrator who has access to the OTRS queue. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 23:06, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Just wanted to add that the Truthout pages still will not load, in either Firefox or Chrome. Chrome, for instance, gives me the following message for one of the pages: "The webpage at might be temporarily down or it may have moved permanently to a new web address. Error 102 (net::ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED): Unknown error." Wayback has no archive of either page.
Incidentally, looking further back, it seems that you may have become a bit personally invested in this matter, given your note here where you indicate that you are "happy" for the "excruciating and embarassing" discomfort that this news agency must feel "over this entry running away on them". I just need to be very sure we're clear that it is not in keeping with Wikipedia's approach to impose "community retribution for any institution cocky enough to abuse wikipedia to promote their agenda, assuming they can get away with anything". I appreciate that you are attempting to keep this article and Wikipdia from being misused promotionally, but it is not our job to punish people. Again, our goal is to reach neutral, not to push beyond. Reviewing Wikipedia:COI#How to handle conflicts of interest and Wikipedia:COI#How not to handle COI may be useful. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 23:26, 9 April 2011 (UTC)
Let me get this straight. The NYT story - Jan 5 2010. The Alternet one - March 2010. Two months later, lingering? The point here is to give the counter point to the toast FT apparently got from The Hill ("covering the launch party for the website "!!!), and the idea that this publication is "non-partisan', in this case, the NYT would have served just as well, instead of "lingering" issues in "some quarters", a "liberal" news service. come on. Wouldn't "This in sharp contrast to a story published earlier in the NYT questioning the neutrality of FT, concerns raised also by ... ", or something like that?
I don't want to get into the wikipedia process, democracy online etc. But I guess I have to. As a website that can't really function and wouldn't be where it is without its broad base of editors, you should reconsider your notions of editor hierarchy, and of sacred guidelines. Your guidelines are meaningless when there is already a reality of criticism sections. They are there for a reason, they serve a function, and the ideal you may think wikipedia should be bent back into may not be more valid than the reality of the way it is actually used. Not an elite editor such as yourself, I am still part of wikipedia's broad base of contributors. There are a lot of people out there who care about specific issues, and want to see them presented well. I get heated up when I see wikipedia highjacked to promote business, this is indeed a major motivation for me, and its of no concern of yours. I can feel happy that Jackileo was repeatedly embarrassed because some pissant editor didn't let her write what she wanted, and pointed towards the soft belly of her BS rag. Say all you want about the quality of my editing, but don't get into motivations.
Incidentally, the guidelines you linked to don't specifically deal with "criticism" sections, just with sections that appear to segregate contradicting POVs. So it doesn't matter if we're talking about ==criticism== or about ==Corporate social responsibility==, or ==Environmental Record==, what youre calling for is a precedent that would try to make all articles on highly controversial subjects seem non controversial. If you follow or canonize your presumed guidelines on this matter, and some corporate PR hack gets wind of this, all articles would soon be corporate friendly, backed by editors such as yourself or the guidelines themselves. And while you may keep your notions of encyclopediac ethics, this whole project will lose its integrity. You may still have your broad base, but it will be deformed after alienating enough people. Is that what you want? Joeav (talk) 02:20, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Yes, you have it straight. The history section is chronological. The first paragraph under history deals with events in January, when The New York Times piece was written. The second paragraph deals with the launch of the website in February. The third paragraph deals with lingering concerns after the launch of the website.
Motivation can lead to subconscious bias in writing. Those who feel strongly positive towards a publication as well as those who feel that it is a "BS rag" need to be duly cautious of this, in order to adhere to the core policies of content on Wikipedia, which apply equally to all editors. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 02:23, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
ok, you got the history straight. I saw this text in so many versions that I guess I can't see straight anymore. I think you're wrong on most other accounts though. All there is to do now is wait untill they try to make this article look prettier again, and I'll have to get to work again and ask you to come in again, file a COIN, template, whatever. I hate these things. Joeav (talk) 02:32, 10 April 2011 (UTC)
As I've said above, I do appreciate that you are attempting to keep this article and Wikipdia from being misused promotionally. For what it's worth, I will also be keeping an eye on it. I do this routinely with articles for which I handle OTRS tickets of this sort. While I have no reason to believe that will be the case here, there have been situations in the past where I have later had to address positive bias. Fortunately, this doesn't seem to happen often. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:53, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

Further PR editing by Jacquelineleo[edit]

I don't think it is difficult to get this encyclopedia page right, but not with Jacqueline Leo of The Fiscal Times as the main editor.Haberstr (talk) 12:52, 21 May 2013 (UTC)