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Project for the New American Century

There is an ongoing dispute on the talk page (and in edit summaries) on this article about whether or not the fact that this article by former British MP Michael Meacher is used as a source and discussed necessitates the inclusion of this lengthy blockquote about September 11 from the article. There are basically three parties to the debate:

- Collect is citing NPOV as a rationale for continually trying to re-insert the quote, on the grounds that "when you cite an article - you can not just quote what you LIKE - you get it all."

- User:Ubikwit claims that Meacher's views about September 11 aren't related or pertinent to his views about the subject of the article (the Project for a New American Century), and that the article can/should discuss the latter without necessarily needing to include or address the former.

- I tried to find a middle ground between these two yesterday but quickly got sucked into the debate. My position is that NPOV dictates we should look to how reliable sources handle Meacher, and that while his views on Sept 11 might well bear discussing, there's no need to quote them in so much length in the article.

Discussion and debate begins here on the talk page, and there's an RFC up here. I'd like to invite anyone/everyone to comment as there seems to be little hope of resolving this dispute without outside help.

This is my first post to a noticeboard like this, please let me know if/how I'm doing it wrong. Thanks!Fyddlestix (talk) 16:18, 27 February 2015 (UTC)

A source is being used which has the subtitle: The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination '.
That source is being used for the second paragraph of the article, and ignoring the first paragraph of the article entirely, and the entire rest of the article. The article presents Michael Meacher's conspiracy theories about 9/11.
Massive attention has now been given - and rightly so - to the reasons why Britain went to war against Iraq. But far too little attention has focused on why the US went to war, and that throws light on British motives too. The conventional explanation is that after the Twin Towers were hit, retaliation against al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan was a natural first step in launching a global war against terrorism. Then, because Saddam Hussein was alleged by the US and UK governments to retain weapons of mass destruction, the war could be extended to Iraq as well. However this theory does not fit all the facts. The truth may be a great deal murkier.
Is quite clear that he is presenting his "theory" about 9/11.
First, it is clear the US authorities did little or nothing to pre-empt the events of 9/11. It is known that at least 11 countries provided advance warning to the US of the 9/11 attacks. Two senior Mossad experts were sent to Washington in August 2001 to alert the CIA and FBI to a cell of 200 terrorists said to be preparing a big operation (Daily Telegraph, September 16 2001). The list they provided included the names of four of the 9/11 hijackers, none of whom was arrested.
Was this inaction simply the result of key people disregarding, or being ignorant of, the evidence? Or could US air security operations have been deliberately stood down on September 11? If so, why, and on whose authority? The former US federal crimes prosecutor, John Loftus, has said: "The information provided by European intelligence services prior to 9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defence of incompetence."
The catalogue of evidence does, however, fall into place when set against the PNAC blueprint. From this it seems that the so-called "war on terrorism" is being used largely as bogus cover for achieving wider US strategic geopolitical objectives. Indeed Tony Blair himself hinted at this when he said to the Commons liaison committee: "To be truthful about it, there was no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11" (Times, July 17 2002). Similarly Rumsfeld was so determined to obtain a rationale for an attack on Iraq that on 10 separate occasions he asked the CIA to find evidence linking Iraq to 9/11; the CIA repeatedly came back empty-handed (Time Magazine, May 13 2002).
In fact, 9/11 offered an extremely convenient pretext to put the PNAC plan into action. The evidence again is quite clear that plans for military action against Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11. A report prepared for the US government from the Baker Institute of Public Policy stated in April 2001 that "the US remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma. Iraq remains a destabilising influence to... the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East". Submitted to Vice-President Cheney's energy task group, the report recommended that because this was an unacceptable risk to the US, "military intervention" was necessary (Sunday Herald, October 6 2002).
Appears to show "9/11 conspiracy theory" is the topic of the entire article, that PNAC is a key and iterated part of Meacher's "conspiracy throry" which he promoted repeatedly at Alex Jones (radio host)'s show and website [1] and that presenting the view of a conspiracy theorist as "fact" in any way remotely approaching a position of credibility violates WP:NPOV. Neutral point of view" != "promoting conspiracy theories without telling readers that they are conspiracy theories." WP:FRINGE is clear that we do not give credence to "conspiracy theories" and I assure you Michael Meacher is in the 9/11 conspiracy theorists category, and listed in the template for the 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Cheers. Collect (talk) 16:42, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Nice wall of text. I'm sure that people can read the article for themselves, if you just link to it, like this.
It's clear that the article is about the war on terror and its connection to a scheme for global domination, which Meacher sees spelled out in the PNAC report to which he refers, and which academic sources have addressed. Note that the academic sources do not address the broader context of the war on terror.
The article is about PNAC, not the broader context.
Meacher's views are clear, and I don't see how this can possibly be skewed as an NPOV issue. It is simply a question of the material being off-topic, and thus UNDUE. If that is not the case, then I will work up a paraphrase of the article myself to put into the article.
One thing that would certainly not be NPOV is an attempt to portray Meacher as an irrational conspiracy theorist whose views on PNAC and the report are therefore discredited. A number of the points he raises, it should be noted, are still alive. The FBI officer that was rebuffed by the CIA recently issued a long statement that was covered by Newsweek, I believe, maybe it was Time. In any case, the evidence he presents is not irrational or false information--though I don't know the extent to which each point has been verified by collaborating RS. There is a difference between examining evidence that suggests a conspiracy and indulging in speculative theorizing (i.e., "conspiracy theory"). I note that the Wikipedia 9/11 conspiracy theories doesn't even mention Coleen Rowley[2][3], Ali H. Soufan[4] or Mark Rossini[5]. I don't think their accounts correspond to "conspiracy theory".
So there is an issue related to how any such "conspiracy theory" assertion of the sort Collect wants to insert would be presented in the first place. Even if he's wrong, he does not appear to be acting in an irrational manner. If he were, the Guardian wouldn't have printed the piece, and academics wouldn't be commenting on his statements in the manner that they have (no mention of "conspiracy theory").--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 18:13, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Meacher is a conspiracy theorist. He mentions PNAC multiple times in his conspiracy theory. The conspiracy theory is about 9/11 as we have shown. In title, and in multiple sentences in the entire article. For us to say "but this is not abut 9/11" is about as absurd as one can get. WP:NPOV is clear on this - for us to promote this conspiracy theory is wrong. That you persist in saying "this article is only about the war on terror and has no conspiracy theory stuff in it is belied by the very content of the article - which Alex Jones copies on the site. And I am glad you think the conspiracy theory is "rational" here. Your main problem is that you want to assert the factual veracity of a member of Parliament - see [6] Guardian "Michael Meacher addresses the fringe crowd." "The crowd whooped and roared, the sun blazed and the years fell away from Meacher. He hopped off the platform like a young firebrand, and was mobbed by grateful campaigners. "This moment is historical," smiled Basílio Martins, a journalist from Portugal. "People need to know about Bilderberg, and now they start to know."" A multitude of conspiracies, alas. [7] Beeb: "Mr Meacher, a minister in Tony Blair's Labour government, said: 'The Bilderberg Group comprises about 130 of the Western world's biggest decision-makers.' He added: 'Of course it's not a conspiracy but, at the same time, 130 of the world's biggest decision-makers don't travel thousands of miles simply for a cosy chat...'" Bilderberg conspiracy anyone?
The Guardian[8] David Aaronovitch says "But watch Meacher build. It's a classic of its kind. "Was this inaction," he asks, "simply the result of key people disregarding, or being ignorant of, the evidence? Or could US air security operations have been deliberately stood down on September 11? If so, why, and on whose authority?" This is conspiracy 101. Say something is a fact which isn't. Then ask questions, rising up through incompetence, gradually to mal-intention, and then - abruptly - demand who might be behind it all. Cui Bono, my dear friends?" and "Even so, I do not know what is more depressing: that a former long-serving minister should repeat this bizarre nonsense without checking it; that, yesterday, twice as many readers should be published supporting this garbage as those criticising it; or that one letter should claim that Meacher has simply said what "many have always known". Ugh! To give credibility to this stuff is bad enough, to "know" it is truly scary.." 'Nuff said. Collect (talk) 18:50, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm only going to respond briefly here as I think my perspective on all of this is already well covered on the article's talk page and in the RFC discussion section. What I will say (again) is that I think it's significant that reliable sources like this one have not dismissed Meacher's views on PNAC as fringe. Abelson doesn't like Meacher's perspective, but he does deem it worthy of discussion. So I think there is a rationale for keeping Meacher in the article, and not totally dismissing his views about PNAC. It's also clear, however, that there's a need to counterbalance his views (again, about PNAC). Collect seems to want to use statements he's made about September 11 to do that, while Ubikwit (as I understand it) doesn't think his views on 9-11 should be mentioned at all. Frankly I could care less either way - what's important to me is that the focus stays on PNAC here (this being, after all, an article about PNAC). My suggested solution all along has been a brief statement of Meacher's views about PNAC, a brief, reliably sourced statement addressing his views on Sept 11, and then moving on to use more reliable and in-depth sources like Abelson to counterbalance Meacher's (and the other critics who are quoted in this section) characterization of PNAC.Fyddlestix (talk) 19:08, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
@Fyddlestix: In the RfC discussion, @Groupuscule: suggested using a footnote for the material. I wouldn't have a problem with that.
As you say, the article is about PNAC, and that's what it should document regarding Meacher's statements. Anybody that wants to know more about Michael Meacher simply clicks the Wikilink and is transported to his article...--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 19:31, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, I will reply there as well but for the most part I think I would be fine with the approach they suggest.Fyddlestix (talk) 21:04, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
And yet the article us about 9/11 and he states about 9/11 and PNAC The catalogue of evidence does, however, fall into place when set against the PNAC blueprint'. Also In fact, 9/11 offered an extremely convenient pretext to put the PNAC plan into action. The evidence again is quite clear that plans for military action against Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11. And note also that Meacher is still a 9/11 theorist as a member of Political Leaders for 911 Truth.
Icing on the conspiracy birthday cake [9] the LaRouche folks: Ever since Lyndon LaRouche first affirmed, early in the morning of 9/11, that the attacks were an "inside job," it has been taboo in Britain to publicly discuss this possibility, especially as Blair's Britain joined in the neo-conservatives' wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, becoming the Cheney-acs' main prop overseas. And although Meacher's polemic narrows the motive of Cheney et al. to an oil grab, his intervention is timely. (LaRouche folks are kings of conspiracy theories). The game is much more dangerous than Meacher has described it. But with publication of his article, the "Reichstag Fire" issue—and crucially, that of the relation between the Cheney's gang's desires and Tony Blair's actions as British Prime Minister—is out in the open. [10] BBC: Former minister Michael Meacher has blamed the Iraq war on the US desire for world domination. Mr Meacher also suggested the Americans might have failed to prevent 11 September as it gave a pretext for military action. noting the BBC viewed Meacher's screed as being about 9/11 specifically. WP:FRINGE stuff utterly. That fact that a conspiracy theorist can attain office is scary. Collect (talk) 20:35, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
You seem to be under the impression that I'm trying to gloss over Meacher's views on September 11, or that I'm somehow promoting his views. Neither of these is the case and I've already repeatedly stated that I'm ok with a well-cited sentence or two discussing those views in the article. I'm also puzzled by your continued reference to WP:FRINGE - if you think Meacher's views on PNAC are fringe, shouldn't you be making the case to have him/his views excised from the article entirely? That would seem to be the appropriate response if it's a fringe position. But instead you seem to want to include more information about him and his views. I just don't see how that makes sense or does the article any good.Fyddlestix (talk) 21:04, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I have pointed out that his views on PNAC are part and parcel of his fringe 9/11 views, that the source being cited makes it clear that it is about his fringe 9/11 views, and that if we do not have readers see that it is about his fringe 9/21 views that we are disserving the readers. I do not know how much clearer I could have made it that Meacher is a 9/11 Truther whose views should not be presented to readers as being "fact" I any way. Is this actually clear now? Collect (talk) 22:49, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I think it is entirely improper to put the material from a FRINGE conspiracy theorist into this article. I can't imagine that this adds important or probative value to the article. Why not just add Infowars directly? The subtext here is appalling and I do not see it as neutral. Capitalismojo (talk) 23:44, 27 February 2015 (UTC)
I think that's unfair - I've been clear all along that I'm only advocating discussing Meacher to the extent that reliable secondary sources do. Please check out the suggested compromise wording that I just posted on the article's talk page, you'll see that I am in no way trying to sneak Meacher into the article - in fact, I go out of my way to note that he is a conspiracy theorist and to cite multiple reliable sources which say as much.Fyddlestix (talk) 02:18, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
Woah there, who ever said that we were trying to present Meacher's views as fact? I have advocated nothing of the sort, at any point during this entire discussion. That's such a blatant mischaracterization of my position that I honestly don't know how to interpret it except as a personal attack - much like your earlier edit summary, which baselessly compared me to Alex Jones. Can we all just step back for a moment, take a deep breath, and actually read/consider each other's arguments? Please go read the suggested compromise (redraft) that I just posted and you'll see that I am in no way advocating taking his statements as fact or at face value - in fact, I've gone out of my way to make it clear that his views are suspect, citing multiple reliable sources that label him a conspiracy theorist. You and me aren't nearly as far apart on this as you seem to think, I hope the proposed draft clarifies that. Fyddlestix (talk) 02:18, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
Meacher's views are mentioned in the reliable source, because it is trying to show that there were a range of different views about the connection between the PNAC and the Middle Eastern policy of the Bush administration lying somewhere in the middle. I think the article fails to present the proper weight of the different views. TFD (talk) 04:59, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
If that's the case, it can be resolved by including more material that counters the view of PNAC which the critics discussed in this section of the article. But even if we left Meacher out, that view was widespread and popular enough (and discussed in enough reliable sources) that the article still needs to discuss & address it.Fyddlestix (talk) 16:09, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
@Fyddlestix: It has been made clear on the related BLP/N thread that at no time have Meacher's views been presented as "fact", as per this comment by Short Brigade Harvester Boris.
The proposed compromise text is a balanced presentation of the subject matter, situating Meacher's views within the overall context of other reliably sourced statement on the topic.
@The Four Deuces:. Have you seen that text? Please clarify what you mean by "proper weight of the different views". Meacher's basic statement about a blueprint for American domination, in his words, "Pax Americana", have been made by sources in various countries and from across the political spectrum. The title of this one from a German legal journal is interesting, "Creed, Cabal, or Conspiracy – The Origins of the current Neo-Conservative Revolution in US Strategic Thinking", for example, which also states

Leaving aside the lunatic fringe a for a moment, there is large and growing number of commentators who view the present transatlantic tensions as but the work of a small clique of ideologues who took an academically challenged presidency hostage to their radical agenda.

--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 05:22, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────"large and growing number" does not mean most. When you distort the relative weight of sources, it affects the neutrality of the article. TFD (talk) 07:31, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

The specific distortion to which you refer is not clear. Source(s)? Note the statement in the current text

According to Hammond, its recommendations were "exactly what one would generally expect neoconservatives to say, and it is no great revelation that they said it in publicly-available documents prior to September 2001."

and the statement that follows that. "Most is not used in the text, incidentally, "Multiple" is.
If you don't present specific sources with respect to which the POV is not being represented or not being accorded due weight, then you need to present the sources, otherwise the statement seems like a groundless assertion leveled against well-sourced text.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 07:45, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
Whether or not Hammond agrees with the "large and growing number" of critics who hold this view, it does not make it a majority view. You need to review neutrality policy: all significant views must be presented proportionately. We should not come down on one side or another. TFD (talk) 16:55, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
Why wouldn't it reflect the majority POV?
It is obviously the majority viewpoint according to a plethora of RS. You have repeatedly been asked to produce sources to support you're obstructionist statements against the creation of policy compliant content, and that is tendentious.
Either produce sources that backup your POV, or kindly find another article to make pointy, unsupported assertions.
Let me rephrase that, either produce sources that represent a significant view that must be presented proportionately or stop violating WP:TALK by pretending not to hear what other editors are saying to you here.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 01:09, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
Your source says "large and growing number." That does not mean "most" ergo I do not need to provide another source to say the same thing as the one you provided. You need to provide one. TFD (talk) 13:35, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
I believe it would be WP:CHERRYPICKING to use Meacher without putting it in context of his thesis that "The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination". That doesn't mean there's an onus to quote from the article extensively than that. Rhoark (talk) 00:01, 11 March 2015 (UTC)

Should the views of Meacher be included in some form? Yes. Should it be included without mention of the context of the views of Meacher of the subject of the article as part of a 9/11 conspiracy theory? No. Should views that counter Meacher's views be included in this article? Yes. Should Meacher's views be given significant weight in this article? No.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 06:30, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Listing of porn award nominations

I wanted to solicit opinions on whether exhaustive listing of porn awards nominations is appropriate under WP:UNDUE, WP:INDISCRIMINATE, or WP:BLPSTYLE (if you consider these lists as praise) in a biography. These nominations do not contribute to a subjects notability under WP:PORNBIO and often can not be cited to an independent source from the award givers. I had removed nominations [11] under Cytherea and was reverted[12]. Other examples where the awards nominations section outweigh the rest of the biography considering the underlying sources: Riley Reid,Skin Diamond, Ann Marie Rios, and most of the other recent porn actor pages. Morbidthoughts (talk) 05:42, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

I disagree with the notion that listing award nominations violates the policies cited above. Clearly, information that does not inherently confer notability on a subject may still belong in an article - in fact such information makes up a majority of most articles. If one award win is sufficient to make a subject notable, certainly other award nominations are deserving of mention. Furthermore I don't see such information as praise, and it seems to me that it gives an indication of other work the person may have done that may be of significance, which goes directly to the point of what the article should be about. The fact that a secondary source may not be available for the award nominations is irrelevant, because a primary source is appropriate for such information. --Sammy1339 (talk) 19:05, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
It does matter in terms of weight under WP:PRIMARY, "Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources and primary sources." If you have an article that is dominated by these nominations that can only be supported by the primary sources, it's a problem. Morbidthoughts (talk) 05:35, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
I took a look at Ann Marie Rios who I have never heard of and have no interest in. I do not perceive that this article is "dominated" by the nominations. Objective listing of nominations is not praise. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 06:29, 1 March 2015 (UTC)
We have entire "List of awards and nominations received by..." articles for many non-porn acts. Kiss, Elizabeth Taylor, The Smashing Pumpkins, the MLB Network, Willie Nelson, Prison Break, and many, many more. Almost all primary sourced. In light of that, it would seem unfair to forbid a lesser mention in pornstar articles. InedibleHulk (talk) 12:27, March 3, 2015 (UTC)
Yes, because these are significant awards. Porn awards are not. The budget for every single porn film made in a typical year, probably doesn't come close to the cost of a single Hollywood film, and the trade awards are not covered in any significant sense by independent sources. Come back when the Washington Post and the The Times cover these awards with fornt page pictorial as they routinely do for the Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys and the like. Guy (Help!) 11:03, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
JzG, I'm sure from your perspective this is true, but to someone who works in the adult industry, I bet they would argue with you vehemently over the significance. And the cost is irrelevant, there are numerous artistic, literary, science and mathematics awards that don't have the budget that a porn production does that are no less content worthy. As for your claim about the press coverage, you haven't searched well enough at least about the AVN Award. --Scalhotrod (Talk) ☮ღ☺ 14:48, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
They can argue until they are blue in the face, it won't change the facts. People working in every industry think their industry's awards are of surpassing significance, and virtually none of that translates into coverage in the mainstream media. Same applies here. When the news magazines report the speculation, intrigue and controversies, then we'll know it's significant. Guy (Help!) 20:48, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Likewise, the reason those magazines treat mainstream entertainment awards as significant is because they're mainstream entertainment media. If they don't make Oscars and the like seem important, their coverage doesn't seem important. The difference is just in the advertising budgets. InedibleHulk (talk) 22:30, March 19, 2015 (UTC)
Listing of porn awards and nominations is fine. The main concern when using primary sources, is that primary sources often times require interpretation, which is why WP emphasizes reliable secondary sources. So when listing an award, you simply say this actor/actress won "X" award. You can't say, "This actress was the first to win 'X' award" or "This actress won her first reward" when using a primary source unless the source explicitly says that. As long as the information is directly taken from the source and there are no original research interpretations of it, then there shouldn't be any problem.Scoobydunk (talk) 14:52, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
If the significance of something is challenged, it can only be established by reference to reliable independent secondary sources. That is the way Wikipedia works. Factoids sourced only from primary sources, especially industry sources with an obvious vested interest, are excluded when challenged unless and until WP:RS are brought. Guy (Help!) 20:51, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Agree with Guy. I don't see the significance of the awards. Smallbones(smalltalk) 22:39, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Within the field of pornography, these awards, are as important as the Tonys are in Theater, the Golden Glove in Baseball, etc. However, I do see a concern of relying heavily on primary sources, and unless reliable sourced secondary or tertiary sources cannot be found, the awards shouldn't be given undue weight in a biography article.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 02:44, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Hold on, two different topics being confused here. We're not talking about the Notability of the awards, we're just discussing if its appropriate to list them for a particular subject in their article. From many of the comments, I don't seen that distinction being understood. For example, the Morgan Prize or Wolf Prize are about as obscure as it gets for awards, but I don't see anyone objecting to listing a "win" for them in the article for those who have received it, nor do I recall front page coverage in the New York Times or other major publication du jour. --Scalhotrod (Talk) ☮ღ☺ 02:56, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

And the award for Most Misleading Title goes to...the Wolf Foundation for promoting "friendly relations". InedibleHulk (talk) 03:28, March 20, 2015 (UTC)

I personally include both wins and nominations when I create new articles, but I organize the accolades neatly into tables. This discussion began over the illegible and mostly unsourced listing of Cytherea's award & nominations, which I have fixed. The solution would have been to simply tag the section for cleanup, not remove the nominations. Porn biographies should not be treated any differently from those on mainstream performers, which not only lists both awards and nominations within the article, many also have a separate article for lengthy awards/nominations listings ([13] & [14]). There are some special cases where listing nominations should be avoided (we are unable to provide a complete nominations listing for those active in the porn industry prior to 2000), but this isn't a problem for those who debuted in porn after 2000. Rebecca1990 (talk) 05:22, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

The caveats that I would make is that the nominations are for individually notable awards (not group scenes) and that the list of nominations does not overwhelm the properly referenced prose narrative of the article. I apply the similar standards to biographies of artists. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 05:37, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

NPOV treatment of Jesus in the New Testament

The Jesus article has a section called Life and teachings in the New Testament. If it were a secular section, it would not follow the Christian canon. In particular, secular scholars put the Gospel of John in a separate category from the other three Christian gospels, the "synoptics." Additionally, scholars emphasize the differences among the gospels. Instead, the section takes the Christian approach of conflating all four gospels into a single story. This approach is precisely the one that secular scholars, such as Bart Ehrman, warn us against. After months of discussion, no proponent of the current version could name a secular, tertiary, reliable source that treats the topic this way, and, after discussing options, other editors encouraged me to move forward with edits. I started removing references to John, since secular scholars don't consider it to be a meaningful source for the life of Jesus. Then I got reverted. Here's the diff: [15]

There is more than one possible way to fix this page, but certain editors want to preserve the Christian approach to the topic. That's understandable, but not appropriate for WP. I don't much care how the article gets fixed, but I would sure love some support form other editors who say that maintaining a Christian POV isn't right. Thanks in advance. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 02:16, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

It follows the Christian canon precisely because of its title: "in the New Testament". StAnselm (talk) 02:39, 2 March 2015 (UTC)
St Anselm is one of the Jesus editors who wants to maintain the current treatment, by which the section follows church practice. Secular scholars treat the topic differently. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:46, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
Although the Q thesis continues to be the dominant solution to the synoptic problem, almost everything about the relationships among the gospels continues to be controversial, and JT's "John doesn't count" is eccentric. It's impossible to present a neutral picture by simply erasing John from the narrative. John needs to appear in the narrative, with of course cautions that only he records some incidents and that his direction is quite different from the other three. Perhaps John could be presented as a separate section, at least up until the passion narrative.
And really it is necessary to present the Christian perspective of a single narrative. It may be incorrect, but people do actually need to know what is taught as well as what scholars have supposed on their own. Mangoe (talk) 17:59, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
Well hell no. We are not here to propagate a religious tradition. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:14, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
The idea of excluding John wasn't my first suggestion. That's how Britannica does it, and we ended up there when an editor who opposed any changes said it was the reliable tertiary source to follow. When he learned that Britannica tells Jesus' story without including John, he dropped out of the discussion on the Talk page. Honestly, I don't care which neutral, reliable, scholarly, tertiary source we emulate, as long as we treat the topic in such a way. Earlier I had proposed treating the sources separately, but editors resisted that idea, and Britannica was the only model that anyone else would point to as a model. That's how we got to excluding John. Another avenue is to put this section under the Christian Views section, and then it can remain "how Christians see Jesus" instead of a biography of Jesus. If we could agree on a neutral source to emulate, that would help. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 21:10, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
As I explained on the talk page, Britannica doesn't actually exclude John after all. StAnselm (talk) 21:24, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
The gospels are not a "biography of Jesus", and that's the prevailing position in the Christian scholarly community. Also, looking that the key page in the Britannica text, it doesn't address the "Q" theory at all and therefore ignores the prevailing view that Matthew and Luke appear to ratify Mark because they are thought to be derived from Mark. They ignore the thesis that the synoptics present the ministry of Jesus as if it were a single year because Mark appears to be constructed to be used as a single year lectionary. The principles that they propose for sifting among passages are controversial, if oft-proposed.
The upshot is that using the Britannica article as a template is a bad idea, because its approach is eccentric. There is one line of thinking which basically ignores everything but Mark (including a preference for the shortest ending), but it's just one line. Mangoe (talk) 22:20, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
No, the upshot seems to be to be a misunderstanding of what "Jesus in the New Testament" means, among other things. First, speaking as a Christian who has looked into the specialist reference works regarding this topic rather regularly over the years, I honestly don't know any reputable Christian academics who consider the gospels "biographical," and, honestly, that idea hasn't even had real support in the academic Christian community for at least 100 years or so. They are considered to be basically "tracts" of the kind we are familiar with today which discuss the life of Jesus, and are, honestly, about as neutral and inherently reliable as those modern tracts. And I think it might be reasonable to realize that, to the best of my knowledge, the Q source has never been included in any versions of the New Testament. Speculation on the internal relationships between the texts of the New Testament are a significant subject, and they are covered (I think and hope anyway, there is a really scary amount of stuff in academic eference sources about this topic) elsewhere. But that is not directly related to the topic of Jesus "in the New Testament" per se. And, the text of the New Testament is clearly pretty much the only material which would be relevant to the subject of the portrayal of Jesus "in the New Testament".
Optimally, I think it would be reasonable for someone to gather a listing of all the articles and subarticles, like the list I started at Wikipedia:WikiProject Christianity/Jesus work group/Encyclopedic articles. Finding the relative importance and weight well-regarded reference sources give to the various subtopics is a good idea. And I certainly would welcome seeing someone add something to that page regarding the coverage in Britannica or any other generally well-regarded reference sources. But I think it would be jumping to conclusions about what is and is not the current academic consensus.
By the way, I am aware of some recent work which has seemed to indicate that some academics are giving the Gospel of John a better record for historical reliability than the previous consensus gave it. However, I don't know that this comparatively new idea has gained a lot of academic support yet, and that raises unavoidable WP:WEIGHT questions regarding that material. Unfortunately. John Carter (talk) 23:05, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
To add another wrinkle, I deny Jonathan Tweet's supposition that the section is written from a distinctly Christian point of view. Rather, it seems to me to be NPOV coverage of a clearly POV source. The section is intended to describe Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament, and while secularists would deny the veracity of many of the claims made in the New Testament, I have yet to be convinced that a simple summary of the New Testament - which is all this section is intending - would sound significantly different if written exclusively by secularists. Jtrevor99 (talk) 04:19, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Our opinions are all well and good, but as editors let's follow an approach used by a neutral, reliable, scholarly, tertiary source. Earlier we landed on Britannica, but I'm not married to Britannica. I'd be happy with Harris's Understanding the Bible, Theissen's Historical Jesus, or the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. None of them use this format, a format that is devotional rather than scholarly. Mangoe suggested splitting the material up, and that's what most RSs do. This section follows Christian practice instead of scholarly practice, so it's POV. The only opposing editor who ever pointed us to a source pointed us to Britannica. When one side in a dispute wants to follow RSs and the other side is happy to figure out on their own how to cover a topic, which side is probably more in line with WP policy? Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:05, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
I regret to say that I see a rather obvious and rather arbitrary distinction in the above in differentiating between "Christian" and "scholarly" practice. The implication that the former is not the latter is rather completely unsupportable, considering that in most all cases the "scholars" who study the subject of Jesus do so in a Judeo-Christian-Muslim or Abrahamic perspective. Scholars from outside that perspective are not necessarily more "scholarly" than those within it. And, I regret to say, that this sentence, "This section follows Christian practice instead of scholarly practice, so it's POV," is even more POV in itself than the message of it, because the individual making it seems to be placing himself in a position where he as an individual is uniquely qualified to differentiate between sources. I regret to say that the impression I most strongly receive of this thread is that there is an effort by one individual to assert that only a particular perspective he may well find most personally agreeable to him is what should be counted as "neutral," "academic," or "NPOV," and, without clear evidence as per WP:BURDEN that such a personal differentiation between highly regarded academic sources is one that is itself broadly supported in the relevant academic community, and that sort of editing does itself rather clearly qualify as POV pushing. John Carter (talk) 16:24, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for asking me to clarify, John. It's not really "Christian" versus "scholarly," as I mistakenly said. It's "devotional" versus "scholarly."

There are plenty of Christian scholars doing good scholarly work in this field. As to insisting on a particular treatment, I'm happy to treat this topic any which way, provided it's a way that a mainstream, secular, reliable, tertiary source treats it. I've suggested two or three ways, and it's the other editors who insist on this one, single way. We are here on this board because the people who want to maintain the current formant can't name a source as our model to follow. Every source I find treats the topic differently. In addition, Bart Ehrman specifically calls out the current format as Christian POV: conflating the gospels into one story. So, should we treat this topic one of the ways that RSs treat it? Or should we treat it the way a contingent of editors wants to treat it? Again, your opinion is welcome, but can you show us a source? Jonathan Tweet (talk) 14:34, 7 March 2015 (UTC)

But you're still insisting on "secular" source, and I don't think that is required by WP policy. "Mainstream" (as opposed to fringe): yes. "Reliable": of course. But "secular"? Where do you get that from? StAnselm (talk) 21:13, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Two points. One, there is no particular single "Christian" view of Jesus with which Bart Ehrman disagrees. There are a huge variation of views of Jesus within Christianity, and many of them disagree with each other even more than Ehrman disagrees with them. Also, honestly, in his book "Did Jesus Exist" Ehrman seems to disagree even more with the so-called "independent" academics than he might with some Christians. And Ehrman himself is also perhaps more of a "popular" writer than pure academic, which makes it more likely that his works will contain some degree of broadly sensationalist material to give the major media sources something to hook on and discuss. That helps such general works get more sales. In matters like this, the best sources for structuring content are ultimately the recent well-regarded academic reference sources. Such sources, even a lot of those published by Eerdmans, are aimed primarily at the academic libraries market, and they tend to be very, very expensive. Sometimes in the range of one thousand dollars per volume. That being the case, they tend to go out of their way to choose as writers of their articles the individuals who have the highest general regard in their field, from all viewpoints, because if they were to choose a true partisan and his article is clearly partisan, the journals reviewing reference works will note that and maybe not give the idea of purchasing the volume as much support. The Guide to Reference website offers a free subscription for two months, or at least I got one some time ago, and it lists a number of the best reference works out there in religion as determined by their contributors, who tend to be academic or specialist public reference librarians. In controversial topics, our best option is to find what they say and, taking into account any recent developments which might be reflected only in the newer ones or too recent to be in any of them, do our best to structure our own content along the lines they indicate. Having looked at a lot of them, even if I haven't added them to our list of religion reference books, so far as I can tell, what I think you might be calling the "academic Christian" perspective most closely reflects the general academic consensus. There is a huge range of disagreement on these topics, and wide and almost innumerable variant ideas on it, but so far as I have seen most of those ideas have little real support being the few individuals who publish books to support them. John Carter (talk) 21:59, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
The other thing is that Wikipedia does not rely on tertiary sources; it relies on (reliable) secondary sources. But as WP:TERTIARY says, tertiary sources may be helpful for evaluating due weight. Do the question is, is the "Life of Jesus in the New Testament" section undue weight for the Jesus article? StAnselm (talk) 01:21, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
StAnselm reverted your change saying that "fixed other edits not part of the John removal."[16] (No idea what that means.) Both of you rely on Encyclopedia Britannica as a source. It is not a good source and furthermore does not support either version. You need to provide sources, otherwise editors have no way of deciding. TFD (talk) 02:07, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Here's why I keep talking about tertiary sources: "Reliable tertiary sources can be helpful in providing broad summaries of topics that involve many primary and secondary sources, and may be helpful in evaluating due weight, especially when primary or secondary sources contradict each other." Years ago, I'm the one that added that final clause to this policy. On this topic, primary and secondary sources are in vast disagreement, and the topic is so big that broad summaries are useful. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 13:51, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Any further help on this discussion would be appreciated. We are at a deadlock. I continue to insist that the section entitled "Jesus in the New Testament" should be about Jesus in the New Testament - his portrayal in that text, free of historical and secular criticism, so that such historical and secular criticism can then, in subsequent sections, be contrasted against the Biblical portrayal and better understood. Omitting or introducing criticism into this portrayal does a disservice to those readers who are not familiar with the Biblical story - which is critical to understanding all facets and history of Christianity - as well as those who wish to better understand historical and secular criticism. I further am not persuaded that a NPOV synopsis of a POV account needs to have a POV tag, as Jonathan Tweet insists. Any position contrary to mine will require major reworking not just of the Jesus page, but of every page WP has for every major religious figure: this issue is not limited to Jesus, even if that's where Jonathan Tweet has chosen to fight. Jtrevor99 (talk) 18:52, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

John Carter, " there is no particular single "Christian" view of Jesus with which Bart Ehrman disagrees" That is entirely true. Please allow me to try to communicate my perspective more clearly. Ehrman distinguishes two ways of reading the gospels: the devotional way is to synthesize them into a biography and minimize the differences and contradictions, and the scholarly way to look at each text separately. This section follows the devotional practice. Ehrman is disagreeing not with a vision of Jesus but with a way of reading the gospels. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 14:44, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Um, you did notice that the article Jesus is intended, basically, as being a biographical article, right? While it might be possible to label something with a label when they have two different goals for making the same procedure, it seems to me that what the section of the article is trying to do is to present what material there exists regarding the biography of Jesus as can be found in the sources which we have for that purpose. The biography of Jesus would, seemingly, be the primary subject to be discussed in an article named after that person. If other useful and broadly agreed upon biographical details were considered by academia to be available from other sources, I don't doubt they would be included, but so far as I know that isn't the case. And, FWIW, those sources are basically considered the "starting point" (for better or worse) for any attempt at a reconstruction of the life of Jesus, so including the material which has been garnered from the sources available seems to be reasonable and consistent with the standards set by other similar reference works. John Carter (talk) 19:03, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
John Carter, "including the material which has been garnered from the sources available seems to be reasonable and consistent with the standards set by other similar reference works" I like this approach! You seem to be saying that we should be consistent with the standards set by other similar reference works. Can we agree that that is our common ground? Then it should be easy for us to look together at similar reference works and check whether we're doing it in line with them. Being consistent with standards is what I'm all about. Can we agree on this point? Jonathan Tweet (talk) 18:54, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
John Carter, I'd like to reach a compromise, and if you honestly want us to be consistent with similar works, then that's a great common understanding on which to build a compromise. Do you really want to be consistent with similar works? I do. 16:12, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
John Carter, if you'd really like to have our article conform to similar works, that's something we can work on together. Let's do it.Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:08, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Not everyone would agree with Ehrman's distinction between "devotional" and "scholarly" at this point. With the growing interest in canonical approaches, more scholars are looking at the canonical gospels together - e.g. [17][18][19][20] StAnselm (talk) 20:24, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
St Anselm, just find a secular, scholarly, tertiary source that treats Jesus the way you want WP to treat him. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 18:54, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

Gospel of Matthew: 50 CE

THE PROBLEM: is that nobody knows when the Gospel of Matthew was written, as it is undated. Many scholars such as France 2007 p19 believe it was composed around 85CE.  Others state it may have been written as early as 50 CE. See  REF1, REF2, , REF3, REF4, REF5 REF6, REF7  Reference books such as The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, 2010 simply state that scholars have set the time anywhere between 50 and 115.

MAURICE CASEY: who is one of the world's leading Biblical scholars published   Jesus of Nazareth  in 2010. This work came down in favour of the 50-60 CE date.  Then several months ago Casey published Jesus: Evidence and Argument or Mythicist Myths? 2014 which laid out the the scholarly argument for his position. See pp 93 ff


DEBATE: GOSPEL OF MATTHEW (talk) - NPOV dispute and edit warring.

CLARIFICATION NEEDED: Is the deletion of the early 50 CE date a violation of WP:NPOV? Also can a number of editors form a "consensus that policies regarding NPOV do not apply" to this article? If so in what circumstances? - Ret.Prof (talk) 00:06, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

If anything, considering the history of the OP here, the most likely policy and guideline considerations involved here would be WP:TE and WP:POV, and, I suppose some might say WP:NOTHERE might apply as well. NPOV is unfortunately, as I think you have probably been told repeatedly already, not the only rule which we have to follow. WP:NPOV specifically includes the section regarding WP:WEIGHT, and as per that aspect of the policy in question we also have to deal with the matter of how much regard any given academic opinion in a field in which there exist a huge number of academic opinions should receive. I very strongly suggest that you perhaps more thoroughly familiarize yourself with that aspect of the policy. We cannot by definition give prominence to all the minority opinions in a field in which there are a huge number of minority opinions. Nor can we give prominence to the opinions of what are, so far as I can tell, non-notable belief systems whose beliefs are substantially at odds with the prevailing academic opinions and opinions of the more notable belief systems in those specific areas. I would welcome input from @Ian.thomson:, @In ictu oculi:, and @Andrevan: regarding whether they think this matter might be better and perhaps more finally resolved at ANI. John Carter (talk) 00:45, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
"We cannot by definition give prominence to all the minority opinions in a field in which there are a huge number of minority opinions." If Maurice's viewpoint isn't notable enough to be picked up by other tertiary sources (and I don't think it is), then including it is undue weight. We say that the "majority" likes a particular date, which implies already that a minority prefers different dates. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:55, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
After giving it a little more thought, i'd like to offer an additional observation. It's not really helpful to say that Casey advocates an earlier date because that's not really the story here. Casey advocates a different origin for Matthew, esp with an Aramaic rather than Greek composition. Presumably he thinks Mark is even earlier. In any case, if the reader is going to get any value out of learning about Casey's minority viewpoint, his viewpoint needs to be actually described. If his overall view isn't worth summarizing (and I don't think it is), then just calling out one aspect of his viewpoint (an early date for Matthew) doesn't help the reader understand the topic. If anything, it's misleading because it doesn't provide context. I'd love to see a developed treatment of Casey's ideas on his own WP page. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 18:45, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
A special thanks to Rhoark for undoing the wrongful closure of this discussion. - Ret.Prof (talk) 15:11, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion that I thoroughly familiarize myself with WP:TE, WP:NOTHERE, WP:NPOV, WP:WEIGHT. It was most helpful! - Ret.Prof (talk) 15:13, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree that we cannot by definition give prominence to all the minority opinions in a field where there is such a huge number! I also agree that Casey needs to be picked up by other tertiary sources. I have attempted to work out a compromise proposal that addresses your concerns. - Ret.Prof (talk) 15:15, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

Compromise proposal

There appears to be about 20 secondary sources and 10 tertiary sources that support Casey's 50 CE date for the completion of the Gospel of Matthew. I propose a compromise based on:

The Scofield Study Bible: English Standard Version, Oxford University Press, 2006, p 1253
The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible, 2010
The NKJV Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Inc, 2014 p 1507

These are trusted and up to date tertiary sources. My compromise proposal is as follows:

The date of the Gospel of Matthew has been set anytime between 50 and 115 CE. The 85 CE date remains the most widely supported.

This is just a proposal and I welcome further input - Cheers Ret.Prof (talk) 15:26, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

I couldn't read the citation to the study Bible, and the other two sources are partisan. It's church tradition that Matthew himself wrote Matthew originally in Aramaic, so I wouldn't rely on a church source for whether this is a notable view. Maybe the article could use a section on alternate dates and why the mainstream sources reject them. E.g., "Casey says Aramaic and c 50, but mainstream scholarship say No because XYZ." Then Casey gets treatment but the reader isn't led to believe that it's an open issue. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 16:09, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
True, the date of the Gospel of Matthew will remain an open issue until some hard evidence is discovered. - Ret.Prof (talk) 12:59, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
What reliable source says it's an "open issue"? My sources say that it's not really open any more, snd that it certainly wasn't composed originally in Aramaic. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:10, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

It was not appropriate for @StAnselm:, as an involved editor, to hat a request for dispute resolution. This is apparently something that has been discussed previously, but not at this noticeboard. I'll note that an attempt at dispute resolution closed unsuccessfully with a recommendation to look for clarification at other noticeboards[21]. Some of the diffs above discuss the possibility of an RfC, but I don't see that it actually happened. Whatever relevant discussion has taken place, it should be linked here for the benefit of the uninvolved. Consensus can change, and local consensus cannot override project-wide policy like NPOV. If it is shown that prior discussion did address all policy-based concerns and that this is a tendentious filing, appropriate consequences can be considered at that point. Editors will kindly avoid premature unilateral threats of punishment. Rhoark (talk) 04:50, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

Gaza Strip

Recent edits to this article seem very problematic to me for reasons I explained briefly on the talk page there. This is a page with editing restrictions in place so I am going to leave it at that for now, but some attention is needed. Mezigue (talk) 09:40, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Hi Mezigue (talk): Please provide more context. Please state reasons you think there is an NPOV problem, any remedies you recommend to address NPOV, any efforts you have made to work with other users to address alleged problems with NPOV and how they responded and whether they worked with you to forge a consensus. Diffs would be helpful. I think the lack of this kind of work is why you have not gotten any response yet. I can't speak for other users, but my guess is they aren't willing to do that work for you. In the above it says:
This page is for reporting issues regarding whether article content is compliant with the Neutral Point of View (NPOV) policy.
  • Before you post to this page, you should already have tried to resolve the dispute on the article's talk page. Include a link here to that discussion.
  • State the article being discussed; for example, article name.
  • Include diffs to the specific change being proposed; paste text here.
  • Concisely state the problem perceived with the text in question.
  • Keep in mind that neutrality is often dependent upon context.
  • It helps others to respond to questions if you follow this format.
David Tornheim (talk) 08:58, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

Waldorf education

Hi! I stumbled upon the Waldorf Education article a few weeks ago, and began making edits recently to bring it to a NPOV. Previously, the article read almost entirely as a promotion for Waldorf-style education, and had been cited many times previously for NPOV. I started to add references to criticisms from WP:RS[1][2][3][4][5], but ran into a dispute with a semi-single purpose editor there, User:Hgilbert, and I'm looking for more third party input. Basically, the dispute revolves around the article's possible lack of NPOV, ADVERT like statements, and above all, excessive detail and puffery, in my opinion. User:Hgilbert, before I showed up, was the only substantial contributor to the article, and has been cited previously as having a COI in relation to the page, as he's a Waldorf educator and has written extensively about Waldorf in academic settings and on other websites. Please just drop by the article's talk page, or check out the article itself, and lend a hand!--Shibbolethink ( ) 16:31, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

User:Shibbolethink is a likely sockpuppet for the banned User:Pete K. He is certainly, looking at the edit history, also a single-purpose editor, albeit one who spent a few months lurking. HGilbert (talk) 17:36, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
I created this account to start recording edits I had made for years on various other IPs belonging to the University of Chicago, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and at home. Several months ago, someone else called me a single purpose account here: Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Cool_Freaks'_Wikipedia_Club. The article creators there also called me a sock puppet for other users, and said I was biased against the group because I thought it wasn't notable. I've also been called a deletionist! Are you noticing a pattern?
It's not possible for a user to be a single purpose account with more than one purpose! I simply go from project to project, finding one that piques my interest, and then delve in. I am not a sock puppet. I'm an autoconfirmed user, and I'm even willing to reveal my identity to admins or even other users privately, to PROVE that I'm not Pete K. Pete K revealed his name elsewhere on other websites, and if you google around my username, the stuff I've said I've done on my user page, etc. you'll see it's completely different, and Pete K and I have zero relation.
We probably even both have incredibly high bacon numbers from separate links! All of Hgilbert's supposed evidence is based on the fact that both Pete K and I think there are problems with the Waldorf article, and "appeal to [Hgilbert's] COI." Well, there is third party admin verification of Hgilbert's COI, which is probably why I also referred to it! I have edited MANY other articles. This is my second of two projects, and so I'm focusing much of my editing in this article. I have many purposes. AGH. --Shibbolethink ( ) 18:32, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
Not sure why the WP:COIN discussion was duplicated here, I wrote there: According to the ArbCom decision, sources published by anthroposophists are considered self-published and thus unreliable as independent, objective descriptions of Anthroposophy and Waldorf schools. They may only be used with attribution, in order to render the anthroposophical POV as POV, not as neutral descriptions of objective reality. Tgeorgescu (talk) 00:26, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
We have held to this standard for the last 10 years. This has nothing to do with the current conflict. HGilbert (talk) 11:36, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
The article does seem like a long promotion for Waldorf schools. On the specific question of whether the NYT is reliable on 7-year reincarnation cycles, while I generally support the NYT as an RS, this seems like a case of an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence. I'd like to see Steiner's years of birth and death in the lead so readers know what era these ideas come from. And anthroposophy gets name-dropped in the lead with no explanation. There should be one. In general, I support Shibbolethink's efforts to bring some balance to this page, and I sympathize with them for their thankless job of struggling against an editor with a conflict of interest. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 13:19, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

Southern Strategy - removal of sources which don't support opening section.

The article Southern_strategy in general terms describes an alleged strategy used by the GOP, starting with the Nixon administration, to appeal to racism in southern voters as a way to win the south from the Dixiecrats. It is a politically sensitive article because can be used to cast the GOP in a negative light. A number of external articles have mentioned the notion of a "racist southern strategy" as if it were a mater of record the same way the "Pinto Memo" has been treated as established fact. The article is vague regarding exactly what the "southern strategy" really is. This is important because a strategy to appeal to southern voters who were unhappy with the Dixiecrats based on say fiscal or military defense policy is much different than a strategy that appeals based on racism. Where this is an issue is one person might say "there was a southern strategy" but it appealed to religious values vs one that appeals to racism. Thus an article that simply says "yes" doesn't actually support the hypothesis of the wiki entry which was the policy existed AND it was racist in it's intent.

There are some sources which I feel pass Wikipedia's standard for reliable sources which I feel should be added to the article. Several editors have refused to allow these sources while being accepting of and even refusing to allow changes to other sources.

I believe the article should have the following changes. First, the article needs to define what "the southern strategy" is as it relates to the text. This will better enable editors and readers to decide if a citation supports just a plan to win southern votes or a plan to win southern votes via racism. Second, I would like the article to include a second that indicates that the facts of the "southern strategy" are in dispute and includes links to sources that dispute the general narrative. Here is an example of my attempt to include dissenting view articles. Involved parties are myself, MastCell, North Shoreman, Gamaliel, The Four Deuces --Getoverpops (talk) 20:41, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

This is already at Wikipedia:Dispute resolution noticeboard. How many of these are you going to open? Gamaliel (talk) 20:45, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
It is also at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Edit warring. Wikipedia:Tendentious editing applies here -- the talk page for the article is filled with new sections being created to simply recycle the same arguments over and over. Please don't encourage him. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 21:11, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

Gamaliel, I believe the neutrality of the article is in question, not just my edits. However, if this is a redundant notice we can remove it. I'm not a seasoned editor so if I miss a rule I apologize. North Shoreman, that comment should be removed as it is a provocation --Getoverpops (talk) 21:14, 24 March 2015 (UTC)

All the sources presented treat the Southern Strategy as a fact. If you think it is mere opinion, then you need to provide sources that say that, which so far you have not. Whether or not it can be used to cast the GOP in a negative light has nothing to do with neutrality. Wategate could be used to cast the GOP in a negative light, it does not mean we cannot write about it. TFD (talk) 01:29, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Not all sources treat the racism aspect as fact. Some sources state there was no concerted "southern strategy" at all. Others state that the understanding of what the strategy was is confused. Hence it would be reasonable for someone to say "there was no southern strategy" and be referring to one specifically targeting/trying to win over racist voters. Several sources said the actual strategy was trying to tow the line between no alienating southern voters while not back tracking on civil rights. I have provided these sources in the talk section but they were wronging dismissed. At the same time that higher level of scrutiny was not applied to other sources included in the article. --Getoverpops (talk) 04:13, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Please provide these references. Depending on the quality of sources, depends on how much weight that it should be given.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 05:50, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Getoverpops provided four sources, at least one of which is reliable (NYT). It's true that there's a counterpoint being made that the southern strategy was about business, not racism (or not just racism). In an article this long, the counterpoint deserves mention. It's a notable but apparently minority view. I'd like to see a section in the main body talking about this contrary view, and mention of it in the lede. I love President Obama and hate the way that the GOP has glommed onto one backwards vision after another in an attempt to keep people voting their way, but Getoverpops has done WP a service by bringing to light a notable view that hadn't gotten any attention. Jonathan Tweet (talk) 15:59, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
The NYT article (see [22] is a four paragraph book review. An very critical academic review (available through JSTOR) starts:
This is a disturbing book. In this slim volume of less than two hundred the authors set out to turn on its collective head what has emerged as the studied wisdom about post-World War II partisan change in the South. Byron E. Shafer and Richard Johnston stipulate that the demise of legal segregation largely drove the change in southern partisan loyalties from Democratic to Republican in presidential elections (something that has long been known and something that runs directly counter to their dominant thesis). They claim that race was not as important a factor in the South's congressional contests. Then they promptly dismiss in importance their first observation to conclude that economic change,not race, was "the engine" that drove partisan change in the post-1945 South (p. 2). (The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 73, No. 3 (Aug., 2007), pp. 746-748)
This review points out that the work reviewed in the Times is a small minority view -- indeed the Time's review acknowledges that this is a new theory. You also acknowledge this. If there is a place for this info (what other substantiation is there for this position -- is it a minority opinion or fringe) in the article it is somewhere in the body of the article; the originator of this discussion wants to give it equal billing in the first paragraph of the article. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 16:30, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
First, this section would talk about various views on the subject. As it discussed views it can include opinion articles such as Herberts as well as views by participants such as Pat Buchanan. Furthermore, though you have mentioned this negative review more than once, it does not invalidate the source book as a reasonable source. The book was written by two academics in the field. The negative review would be reasonable to mention but it is not sufficient to make the article an non-reliable source. Furthermore, if we apply the same level of critical review to most of the "pro" sources in the article we will find the "pro" case is not as strong as you make it out to be. Many of the "pro" articles have mentioned it as fact without proof much the way people would mention that we landed on the moon but not prove it. Once something is taken as a given writers are less likely to critically look at references. Additionally, some of the sources the article is built on also have negative reviews. The case has never been as concrete as you have claimed. However, a section talking about dissenting views should allow for the inclusion of such material and allow the reader to decide. This certainly seems like a good compromise. --Getoverpops (talk) 19:25, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
You were asked above by RightCowLeftCoast to list these references. It's very premature to discuss what you want to do with the sources when you have neglected to answer the question. I know you've advocated Ann Coulter at one point and now you're recommending Pat Buchanan. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 20:00, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I will try to add those once I get a chance to consolidate them. --Getoverpops (talk) 20:49, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
More on the NY Times review. I found a law review article that refers to the work ([[23]] Generally supportive of the work, it does make an important point (see fn 66 after you dowload the article): "SHAFER & JOHNSTON, supra note 43, at 24–29. Shafer and Johnston appear to argue that for presidential elections, views on racial issues did drive partisan voting patterns of Southern whites, but for the House and Senate, it was economic self-interest." The first sentence of our Southern policy makes it clear that presidential politics is the article's focus: In American politics, the Southern strategy refers to a Republican Party strategy in the late 20th century of gaining political support for presidential candidates in the Southern United States by appealing to regional racial tensions and history of segregation. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 21:05, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
But that talks of the voters, not the actions or strategies of the campaigns. While it is not proof there was not a racist southern strategy or a strategy indented to appeal to racist, it also is not sound footing on which to claim there was. Do you see the logical difference?--Getoverpops (talk) 00:12, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
As it can be verified, the view should be given a mention. But unless more than the academically written source, and the NYT article, are the presently provided reliable sources, it shouldn't be given its own entire section. Although I might not agree with the stereotype that south=racist and thus southern strategy=racist strategy, if that's what most sources write (even if the sources themselves are biased), that's how the weight is.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 01:04, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

I think, as a more neutral section, we should target the section to talk about what actions were taken as part of the "Southern Strategy" and to what extent sources feel they had an impact. Given the scope of the article a section talking about impact would be well within the scope of the project. Last night I put together a quick list of sources, both pro "racist policy" and against. The pro list is not comprehensive but instead looks at the sources citied in the Wiki Lead. Based on a review of these sources I think what we can agree on was the GOP was looking at how to win southern votes. The GOP, as virtually all political groups would, was cognizant of ethnicities and their moods in various areas. However, I don't think that being cognizant is the same thing as pandering too. A number of the articles either directly or indirectly support the idea that the GOP's plan at the presidential level (I'm sure both parties had members who did ugly things at local and regional levels) was to avoid antagonizing. Several cite Nixon's record on race related issues as one that does not show a policy of pandering to the South. Some of the sources suggest that it was really the south that needed the GOP (or conformed to the ideas of the GOP) rather than the GOP bending to the will of the South. Anyway, here are some sources and discussions of each:

Sources that are used to support the "Pro racism" POV.

  • Bob Herbert [1]

[2]. Both of Herbert's articles are Op-Ed pieces. Herbert is a well published Op-Ed writer with columns in major papers. However, by that standard we also can/should include columns by opinion writers like Ann Coulter. Currently Herbert's articles are being given undue weight.

  • Dan Carter:[3] The validity of this link is hard to establish since it does not include a page number. Gerard Alexander, an academic in the field, is critical of the conclusions of this book as he describes in this article (the article is a reference I mention later)[4]
  • Taylor Branch: [5] In this case it is simply unclear how this reference supports the claims made. I think this might just be an error in the page number but as it stands it is not a reasonable citation.
  • Here are two articles that are in the current Wiki article and discuss a GOP leader apologizing to the NAACP.[6][7] I think both are questionable in the context of proof of a historical action by various GOP presidential campaigns (since the Wiki article is now focusing on GOP presidential campaigns this is an important distinction). The Boston Globe articles does not even mention the "southern strategy". Instead it mentions the GOP ignoring black needs and using race as a wedge issue (specifics were not offered). The Washington Post article's author mentions "the southern strategy" but in the same way an author might mention the Ford Pinto Memo as proof that companies trade lives for profit. It is part of historic lore (several of the against sources mention this). As such it can't honestly be used to support what the "southern strategy" really was, only that it exists in the cultural mind of people. Thus these sources can not be used to support what the strategy actually was (pander to racists, avoid offending moderates in the south, become an obstacle to further civil rights reforms?). It is also important to remember this apology was given as a way to persuade voters. As such it is perhaps better to claim one has sinned in the past if the audience feels that is true, vs trying to argue that the sins didn't happen. In short, it was campaigning as much as anything.
To further the above argument that this is not proof of a southern strategy that planed to appeal to racists, Malhman, the one making the apology, talks about it on Larry King Live. He says it was a general apology for the party. That can't be seen as specific to presidential campaigns. [8]

These are articles I think don't support the idea that there was a "southern strategy" based on pandering to the racism of voters in the south. Note that I would not call "avoiding the subject" or "treading lightly around the subject" pandering.

  • Dan McLaughlin, [9] This is clearly an opinion article. However that puts in on the same footing as the Herbert articles mentioned above. This is a blog quality source reviewing a book (mentioned below). The book in question "The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs - and Who Will Take It" by [[24]]. The reviewer contends the book first supports the notion that pandering to racism was not the reason for the south to move the GOP. This is consistent with several other articles and probably should be mentioned in the southern article as a point in and of itself Given the detail in the Wiki entry it would seem appropriate to include sources that discuss the reasons voters changed parties. If the evidence is the majority didn't move for racial reasons then that undermines the significance of any southern strategy to appeal to racism elements.

Gerard Alexander: [10] This is an opinion article by an academic researcher in the field. The article questions the GOP's need to court southern voters at any cost. Thus the same candidates who were fighting for civil rights in the late 50s and early to mid 60s were unlikely to quickly change their tack to appeal to a segment if the need wasn't as critical. This supports the claims by other sources that claim the GOP was race sensitive to the south but did not (at least at the presidential level) play to racist fears or make promises that would specifically target racists (the general thrust of some tellings of the southern strategy).

Wallace voters ended up supporting Nixon, Reagan and other Republicans, but much more on the national GOP's terms than their own. The Republican Party proved to be the mountain to which the Deep South had to come, not the other way around. This explains why the second assumption is also wrong. Nixon made more symbolic than substantive accommodations to white Southerners. He enforced the Civil Rights Act and extended the Voting Rights Act. On school desegregation, he had to be prodded by the courts in some ways but went further than them in others: He supervised a desegregation of Deep South schools that had eluded his predecessors and then denied tax-exempt status to many private "desegregation academies" to which white Southerners tried to flee. Nixon also institutionalized affirmative action and set-asides for minorities in federal contracting.

Sean Trende: [11] Author is opinion writer. Includes the claim that McGovern was too liberal to get strong southern support and hence Nixon got much of the vote by default. This again supports the notion that a southern strategy was one which avoided antagonizing rather than appealing to racial feelings.

Kevin Williamson: [12]Another article supporting the theory that GOP successes in the south started prior to '68 and during a time when the GOP was pushing for more civil rights protections than the Democrats. This is yet another source that says the shift wasn't based on race. That doesn't prove no racist plans were laid but again, it supports the idea that the GOP was more likely to try to walk a fine line (not antagonize) vs appeal to. Note that in searching the reliable source archives I've found that NR is considered a reliable source even though it is a right leaning source.

Gerard Alexander: [13] I have been accused of cherry picking from this article. However, if the wiki article is about presidential campaigns only then, no, no cherry picking here. The author (same as WP author above) says that the repubs in the south had to engage in nasty politics to win elections, that was political expedience.

The mythmakers typically draw on two types of evidence. First, they argue that the GOP deliberately crafted its core messages to accommodate Southern racists. Second, they find proof in the electoral pudding: the GOP captured the core of the Southern white backlash vote. But neither type of evidence is very persuasive. It is not at all clear that the GOP's policy positions are sugar-coated racist appeals. And election results show that the GOP became the South's dominant party in the least racist phase of the region's history, and got—and stays—that way as the party of the upwardly mobile, more socially conservative, openly patriotic middle-class, not of white solidarity.

The bolded text (my emphasis) hits the key point. What ever the "southern strategy" was the key point of the strategy towards the south at the time, according to a number of authors, was not to appeal to racism. It seems instead they were racially cognizant and crafted a message not to offend. This also aligns with the previous comments that Nixon was not interested in offering much to southern politicians in exchange for support.

What we have is enough information to cast doubt on the original opening claim of the Wiki article. The original claim, which was changed after this dispute was filed, was an appeal to racism. The sources which purport to prove it was an appeal to racism aren't as strong as some claim. I have not reviewed all the sources in the Wiki but enough to show that the original article lead was questionable. We also have a number of sources that undermine the appeal to racism/racist theory. That leaves us with a truth that appears to probably be in the middle. There probably were some GOP candidates, especially a local/state levels who appealed to racist motives (but that is now out of the scope of the article). At the national level it appears the Nixon campaign was very continuous of the issues but there seems to be no evidence that they acted on this beyond trying to tip toe around the issue. I have seen no evidence to show that Regan's campaign was any different. Basically not promising but not antagonizing. That doesn't quite fit the spirit of even the modified lead which really suggests the GOP has sin to atone for (ie the final apology one liner I would like to see struck from the intro).

I would like input as to how to phrase a "debate about both the actions taken and the impact people thing they had on election outcomes. It's one thing to talk about something, it's another to show that promises were made or acted upon to gain support. If promises were made what were they? Is there merit to the theory that the South was basically leaving the Democrats due to both cultural drift and/or civil rights backlash? I think when authors and even participants in the events claim there was no southern strategy what they mean is there was nothing that fits the description that the "mythical southern strategy" has assumed. I wouldn't argue there was no strategy for dealing with maximizing votes in the south without alienating the other parts of the country (which were strongly in favor of civil rights).--Getoverpops (talk) 02:35, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Op-Ed pieces can be used to verify the opinion of the Op-Ed writer, but not as sources to verify statements of fact. How heavily are the Op-Ed(s) used, bot to verify the racist POV and the not-racist POV?--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 00:20, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
All I'm really seeing here is a need to increase the caliber of sources used for the article so we can drop these opinion pieces. So here's an article, "The Southern Strategy Revisited: Republican Top-Down Advancement in the South", written by Joseph A. Aistrup which is a scholarly article published by the University Press of Kentucky. In it, Aistrup writes:
"Since Goldwater in the early 1960s, the Southern Strategy has evolved from a states’ rights, racially conservative message to one promoting in the Nixon years, vis-à-vis the courts, a racially conservative interpretation of civil rights laws—including opposition to busing. With the ascendancy of Reagan, the Southern Strategy became a national strategy that melded race, taxes, anticommunism, and religion."
"For thirty years, the Republicans’ Southern Strategy has built winning coalitions for presidential elections in the South. For Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, this strategy was simply “to go hunting where the ducks are” (Bass and De Vries 1976, 26). The ducks to which Goldwater referred were strongly ideological, racially motivated, white conservatives."
Then, there is also William C. Harvard who wrote in his The Changing Politics of the South about southern Republican politics saying that "whether they can make the transformation without the residue of race as a central issue is the fundamental question." So now that we have some peer reviewed scholarly sources that articulate the Southern Strategy as appealing to a racially motivated white electorate, feel free to find some reliable sources of equal strength to support your position as opposed to Op. Eds.Scoobydunk (talk) 08:27, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
RightCowLeftCoast, I have a question about how we handle articles by academics in the field. For example, one of the references I listed was a Washington Post Op-Ed by Gerard Alexander. Alexander is an academic in the field. Do we take his article as opinion or expert opinion? The Reliable Source guide [[25]] suggests that because the academic is an expert in the field his op-ed article should be treated as the reliable opinion of an expert. I've also included a book by said author as a reference. The NYT's book review was of a book written by two academics in this area and thus the book should be considered expert opinion as well.
Scoobydunk, Thank you for the contribution. I don't recall you being involved with this article but your opinions are still welcome. I agree that many of the sources used in this article have not been high caliber. The source you suggest was already included in the article under suggested reading. Note that while it was written by an academic it is not a pear reviewed work. Thus I would see it as expert opinion of someone in the field and we already have both books and articles written by academics for the "non-racist" view. Your quote from William C Harvard, is questionable. The book in question was edited by him. Without more detail we do not know if he is the one who wrote it or if it reflects his view. Regardless of the actual author of the quote, it is worth noting that the statement you quoted can neither confirm nor deny the appeal to racism or the walk the line theories. It acknowledges there is an issue but does not indicate which strategy was selected. I think a link to the quote would be helpful in this case.
Regardless, at this point I would argue we have at least a reasonably body of evidence from experts in the field telling us that there was no "racist southern strategy", rather there was only an attempt to avoid offending voters who, other than the recent civil rights laws, were more aligned with the GOP message than the Democratic message. --Getoverpops (talk) 16:45, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
At this point, you haven't provided any sources of equivalent reliability. Your last response only tries to make a false equivalency by equating peer reviewed scholarly work to opinion editorials and masking it under a subjective and generalized umbrella of "expert". Also, the University Press of Kentucky is an institution that utilizes peer review as is required by the Association of American University Presses, of which it is a member. These sources are considered the most reliable by WP reliability standards and articles should reflect what the strongest and most reliable sources say, not opinion pieces from newspapers if there are more reliable sources available. So until you have sources of equivalent reliability, then there isn't a body of evidence to contest the Southern Strategy's implementation/appeal to racism.Scoobydunk (talk) 17:12, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Oops, I forgot two sources. The NY Times article but that's really a book review of "The End of Southern Exceptionalism" by Byron E Shafer and Richard Johnston (both academics in the field) and published by Harvard University Press.

The transformation of Southern politics after World War II changed the political life not just of this distinctive region, but of the entire nation. Until now, the critical shift in Southern political allegiance from Democratic to Republican has been explained, by scholars and journalists, as a white backlash to the civil rights revolution. In this myth-shattering book, Byron E. Shafer and Richard Johnston refute that view, one stretching all the way back to V. O. Key in his classic book Southern Politics. The true story is instead one of dramatic class reversal, beginning in the 1950s and pulling everything else in its wake. Where once the poor voted Republican and the rich Democrat, that pattern reversed, as economic development became the engine of Republican gains. Racial desegregation, never far from the heart of the story, often applied the brakes to these gains rather than fueling them.

I'm out of time again but I think that should address Scoobydunk's concerns regarding a lack of books published by university presses. (Note, this edit was in process before Scoobydunk's reply above. It thus is not a direct reply to his 17:12 comments) --Getoverpops (talk) 17:12, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

In reply to Scoobydunk's post time stamped 17:12
You seem to be trying to be very argumentative. I noticed that you have never edited the Wiki article in question. Regardless, first, I included opinions of academics in the field (thus experts). Second, I just included a text published by a university press so that should address you second point. If you had actually been following this discussion you should have known that the source I just added was mentioned very early on. The long list I added was sources in addition to the book I added in more detail just a few minutes ago. I would ask that if you want to interject in this discussion you should at least be familiar with the whole discussion. --Getoverpops (talk) 17:24, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Now that you have found a source, you need to demonstate its weight. The 2006 NYT review says, "this year two political scientists called [the Southern Strategy] into question." (Oddly the book does not even refer to the term.) Google scholar shows that it has been cited 5 or 6 times, although none of the cites mention the central thesis of the book. There is no reason, and policy reasons not to, to give the views in this book any more attention that scholars in the field have. TFD (talk) 18:14, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
First, I don't need to show the cited book or any other source is more weighty than the existing material. That would be needed if we wanted to pick one side as "correct". All that needs to be shown is that there is reasonable debate among scholars. That has been shown. It's clear you are working hard to discredit the Shafer and Johnston source. Have you applied the same level of scrutiny to all other sources in the entry? Are you suggesting we should refuse to include any source that is not peer reviewed and that is cited at least 7 times? What is your bar for inclusion in the article? Your claim that the book doesn't mention the southern strategy term and thus (through implication) is not a relevant sources is wrong. First it specifically cites Aistrup's The Southern Strategy Revisited: Republican Top-Down Advancement in the South. Here is what the book has to say about Aistrup's work starting on page 17.

These three lines of historical progress, taken together, have encouraged analysts to posit a "presidency-driven," even a "top-down," story of partisan change (Aistrup 1996). This view has the advantage of a powerful simplification. Yet even when the focus is only the difference among institutions during this process of change, we think that a presidential story oversimplifies the picture. The Presidency could run well ahead of Congress at key points, as it did in 1972. But it could also crash back behind it in short order, as it did just four years later. And it could suggest a modest Republican decline, for example from 1988 to 1996, when Congress was showing a strong Republican advance.

Worse yet, an analysis that privileges the presidency risks suggesting that political change was a product, not of fundamental shifts within the social base for partisan politics, but rather of an institutional - a constitutional - dynamic. We think it makes more sense to look on the presidency as reflecting the potential for both growth and retreat, and Congress as representing, "the base" beyond which neither was likely to be consolidated in the long run.

[page 169] IF the focus were not on the longer-term role of the Wallace candidacy, it would be possible to say the same thing in even more provocative fashion. First, the Republican candidate for President in 1968, Richard Nixon, did better in districts carried by Lyndon Johnson (the Democrat) in 1964 than by Barry Goldwater (the Republican): 46 percent versus 30 percent. In that sense, if anyone was a "bridge" to Republicanism in 1968, it was Johnson, not Goldwater. Likewise, if the fosuc were instead on the shape of the partisan world in the longer run, then Ronald Reagan, the Republican Candidate for President in 1980, still did far better among districts carried by Richard Nixon in 1968 than those carried by Barry Goldwater in 1964: 93 percent versus 61 percent. If there was a lasting impact from earlier Republican successes, it came by way of Nixon, not Goldwater - which is unsurprising if further Republicanism was to be built on class rather than race.

Not only what TFD said, but you just copy and pasted a description of the book, which is not a part of the scholarly source itself. Sorry, but a website summary of the article is not of equal standing of peer reviewed work. So can you quote the part of "The End of Southern Exceptionalism" that actually refutes this view and substantiates your assertions? Also, it appears TFD is also right about that book not even mentioning the "Southern Strategy" once. So I think you'd be hard pressed to cite this as a source for explaining the motivations of the Southern Strategy without violating WP original research policies. Scoobydunk (talk) 18:20, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I did copy and paste the university press's summation of the book to show what it was about. So now you want exact quotes. Review after review state one thing and you think they are all wrong? Sorry, that is a cop out. If that is the standard then why haven't you removed any and every reference in the wiki article that doesn't provide an exact quote?

BTW, here is a peer reviewed article that denounces the idea,, Michelle Brattain, Foretting the South and the Southern Strategy (Published in Miranda, author is Department Chair of History at Georgia State University)

Wrapped up in this narrative of party realignment is the most “modern” article of faith behind Southern exceptionalism: the Republican “Southern strategy.” Richard Nixon and his advisors, the story goes, stole a page from the Goldwater and Wallace playbooks and wooed white Southern voters into the Republican party with appeals to festering racial resentments.

... Thus contributors to The Myth of Southern Exceptionalism frequently turn their gaze elsewhere—reminding us not only that whites rioted against housing integration in Pennsylvania, but that segregation (of the Chinese) existed out west, and that NY prisons could be as brutal as Mississippi's notorious Parchman Farm. ... To those who are tempted to draw a straight line from Goldwater, through Wallace, to Nixon and beyond as evidence of Republicans manipulating white Southerners through carefully coded appeals to their racism, the new critics of Southern exceptionalism point to other, less-well-known forces working at the grassroots of Southern politics and culture—namely, moderation. This was true, as historian Joseph Crespino shows, even in the “most Southern place on earth”: Mississippi. ... By 1970, Lassiter argues, white Southerners preferred moderate policies and candidates who employed a language of abstract principles over open defiance and political extremists—a lesson that Nixon learned the hard way. One of the few “genuine” incarnations of the Southern strategy, Lassiter argues, was Nixon's decision in the 1970 midterm elections to lend his support to the Southern Republican candidates who represented the most extreme racial backlash to court-ordered school desegregation and busing. In theory (Kevin Phillip's theory to be precise) such a strategy would have hastened Southern partisan realignment. However, centrist Democrats triumphed over race-baiting Republicans in several key gubernatorial and Congressional elections. ... The national success of Nixon's appeal to middle-class whites who disdained social engineering in the name of racial equality is an extraordinarily important historical insight that challenges myths about American racial innocence. The similarity of white responses to busing across regions, for example, and the hypocrisy of Hubert Humphrey and other non-Southern Democratic liberals who resisted the application of integrationist remedies in their own backyards has newly exposed the emptiness of distinctions between de jure and de facto segregation (Crespino 178-180).

And another book that doesn't agree... Matthew Lassiter, "The Silent Majority" Princeton University Press. Page 232:

The three-way contest allowed Nixon to stake out the political center, by design and by default, as the respectable choice for middle-class voters who rejected the Great Society liberalism of Hubert Humphrey and the reactionary racial populism of George Wallace. In the first national election in which suburban residents constituted a plurality of the electorate, the Nixon campaign reached out to disaffected blue-collar Democrats but aimed primarily at white-collar Republicans and moderate swing voters in the metropolitan centers of the Sunbelt South and West and the upwardly mobile suburbs of the Midwest and Northeast. Nixon forfeited the African-American vote to the Democratic party and conceded the Deep South to the Wallace insurgency, in recognition that the Goldwater debacle of 1964 had reversed Republican trends in the high-growth states of the Outer South.

Melvin Small, "A Companion to Richard M. Nixon", John Wiley and Sons.

This "Southern Strategy/civil-rights retreat" thesis became the first, and thus the orthodox, interpretation of the administration's policies. It would be sustained in the years immediately after Nixon left office, by two groups of writers. The first were those who used the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal as their points of reference for understanding Nixon's presidency. ...

This claim that Nixon's policies rested on liberal words and conservative deeds was exactly the opposite of what later scholars would argue.


There was other evidence that Nixon was not very interested in civil rights - he devoted ten pages of his nearly 1,100-page memoir to the subject. Yet, what he wrote suggested statesmanship, not sacrificing civil-rights enforcement for southern votes. Nixon expressed "justifiable price" in "peacefully desegregating schools in the South".

Many of Nixon's advisers agreed and emphasized the desegregation of school in their memoirs. "Nixon inherited a dual school system declared unconstitutional fifteen years earlier," the speechwriter Raymond Price noted in "With Nixon, "He quietly engineered its dismantling." With respect to politics, Price reiterated a line used by Nixon, that the administration had no Southern Strategy but a national strategy that included the South and that it had desegregated schools "cooperatively rather than punitively". In Before the Fall, another speechwriter, William Safire, described the president's approach to desegregation as genuinely moderate and extremely skillful - a policy of "make-it-happen, but don't make it seam like Appomattox."


In Nixon Reconsidered, Joan Hoff warned against "aprincipled behavior by purely ambition-driven politicians" in the United State, with its toxic mix of powerful government and superficial "media politics." In this setting, Nixon was no worse and , according to Hoff, a bit better in terms of what he achieved than other recent chief executives. She even insisted that, "most of his lasting achievements are in domestic, rather than foreign, affairs." Civil rights was a case in point. In a rejoinder to the orthodox school, Hoff defended Nixon's record as superior to that of Dwight D. Eisenhower, JFK and LBJ during the 1950s and as better than any candidate he ran against, save Hubert Humphrey in 1968. She dismissed Nixon's Southern Strategy as "short-lived"; praised his effective, albeit, "reluctant," desegregation of Southern schools; noted that it was Nixon, not Kennedy or Johnson, who put the "bite" into affirmative action; and chronicled the administration's efforts to expand opportunities for women, especially with respect to employment, despite the fact that Nixon's support of the Equal Rights Amendment was never terribly strong.

[some important points here]

The scholarly literature on the Nixon administration and civil rights has evolved in two directions. At one level , early students of this presidency established an orthodox interpretation of his policies , one that stressed the administration's conservatism and shortcomings in pursuit of a "Southern Strategy." As time passed, and as documentary evidence became available and passions cooled, scholars revised this argument and depicted the Nixon administration's civil-rights policies as complex, in terms of motivation, accomplishment, and affect. At another level, understanding of specific aspects of Nixon's rights policies has deepened , as they became the subjects of articles, book chapters, and monographs. As a result, the historiography on this subject has reached a high level of maturity and sophistication . And, yet, much remains to be studied.

So what is the bar to show that the "southern strategy" was an appeal to racism? Is being anti-bussing racism or people who feel like they put their tax dollars into their local school and they don't want to pay for kids who's parents didn't pay the local taxes to attend nor do they want their kids sent to a distant school? If we think Nixon's plan was to use racist policies can we point to any under his watch? Part of the Southern Stategy wiki article talks about the impact of the "strategy". The sources I've cited generally disagree with the idea of a southern strategy. They don't argue that some things said or done by the administration were based on race but if that is the standard do we really think any campaign is 100% clear? They also argue that the overall objective was to play the middle ground. The articles are far stronger in their idea that it was the average southern voter who's views were better represented by the Republicans and less by an increasingly progressive Democratic party that was the real cause of the shift. Hence any discussion of the "Southern Strategy" would, if they are correct, reach the conclusion that the strategy had at best a minimal impact.

Regardless, there is a clear body of evidence that does not support the telling in the current Wiki. I'm not saying the wiki needs to be changed to this version of events, only that we have enough to state this version of events should be included. --Getoverpops (talk) 04:18, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

It's not our responsibility or privilege to "conclude" the impact of the "Southern Strategy". We let reliable sources do that so it's not a violation of WP:OR. Also, you don't have to have direct quotes so long as your sources actually says what you're claiming it says. Thus far, the peer reviewed sources you've offered haven't supported the disconnect you're trying to create between the Southern Strategy and racism. So when you're challenged on proving what a source says, then you do need to quote it directly. All of my quotes and the ones you're going to read now, directly speak to the inherent racism involved with the Southern Strategy. Furthermore your sources don't refute the ones I've given speaking to the racist nature/purpose of the Southern Strategy. As a matter of fact, your sources actually substantiate the racist nature of the Southern Strategy.
Let's start with Brattain. In the part you quoted she says "Wrapped up in this narrative of party realignment is the most “modern” article of faith behind Southern exceptionalism: the Republican “Southern strategy.” Richard Nixon and his advisors, the story goes, stole a page from the Goldwater and Wallace playbooks and wooed white Southern voters into the Republican party with appeals to festering racial resentments." This is directly saying that the Southern Strategy was utilized by Nixon to appeal to racial resentments. She goes on to talk about how the Nixon administration used "coded" language to appeal to racist resentment and couched language in a way that Republcian voters wouldn't have to admit to themselves that they saw the racism appealing. Nothing you quoted, nor the part you bolded, contradicts the viewpoint that the Southern Strategy was an appeal to racism and this source actually explains exactly how it was.
Next we have Lassiter. Again, nothing you quoted contends with the fact that the Southern Strategy was an appeal to racism. What Lassiter disagrees with is pinning the transformation of southern politics solely on the Southern Strategy. Lassiter says that a reductionist attempt to define the transformation as an appeal to racism mischaracterizes other relevant factors that influenced the shift. However, Lassiter does agree that the Southern Strategy was an appeal to racism and admits that most scholars define the Southern Strategy and its appeal to racism as the cause for the transformation of southern politics. He says "The widespread tendency to attribute the conservative shift in American politics to a top-down "Southern Strategy," launched by the Republican party in order to exploit white backlash against the civil rights movement, misses the longer-term convergence of southern and national politics around the suburban ethos of middle-class entitlement." <--Here he blatantly says that the Southern Strategy was launched by Republicans to exploit white backlash against the civil rights movement. Furthermore, Lassiter says "I argue throughout the book that the overreliance on race-reductionist narratives to explain complex political transformations--such as the 'rise of the Right' and 'white backlash' and the 'Southern Strategy'..." So here Lassiter is talking about "race-reductionist narratives" and lists the Southern Strategy as a race-reductionist narrative. So it's pretty clear that this is another scholarly source that substantiates the position that the Southern Strategy was real and was an appeal to racism. He just disagrees with how much weight it's given in the transformation of southern politics.
Lastly, we have Small. Small talks more about Nixon's presidency rather than examining the Southern Strategy itself. So you could use this source to speak to claims about Nixon's presidency, but not so much for countering the repeated claims about the appeal to racism employed by the Southern Strategy. As a matter of fact, small does attribute the use of the Southern Strategy to race related implementation and initiatives. Small says "It was enshrined in the media as Nixon's "Southern Strategy." As president, much of Nixon's policy-making on issues of race took shape as an attempt to institute it." He then talks about his nominating two segregationist judges to the Supreme Court and having his aides work on an anti-busing executive order which both speak to his attempts to institute race. Small also says "At the convention, as part of his emerging Southern Strategy, he further promised southern delegates that he would not support 'some professional civil rights groups,' that he would oppose busing to achieve desegregation, and that he would appoint 'real men' to the courts, to the Justice Department, and as his vice president." Again, Small associates racially charged issues with the Southern Strategy which undermines your attempts to claim that it wasn't about race.
So in your last response, it's pretty clear you're starting move away from arguing that the Southern Strategy wasn't racist and are now arguing about it's role in southern politics. Unfortunately, the article in question isn't about "southern politics" and is about the Southern Strategy itself. So there wouldn't be a problem in citing Lassiter when talking about the importance/impact of the Southern Strategy in the role of political transformation, but it would have to be presented as a minority view since Lassiter already admits what the widespread view is and acknowledges his diverging opinion. Regardless, none of that or the other sources support your claim that "at this point I would argue we have at least a reasonably body of evidence from experts in the field telling us that there was no "racist southern strategy". I appreciate you supplying more scholarly sources that directly refute your earlier argument. This is how progress is made.Scoobydunk (talk) 07:03, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Can I ask again how you chose to join this discussion? Your history shows that you have never edited the article. Recently I was accused of canvasing for support... were you perhaps asked to join in for similar reasons?
Your first paragraph shows that you are totally missing the point. It IS our purpose here to conclude sufficient information exists to justify adding these sources as references to the article.
Your second paragraph (Brattain) again totally misses the point. The author is describing the common narrative. I've mentioned the Ford Pinto Memo previously as an example. It is an "article of faith" that Ford did a cost benefit analysis regarding the cost of rear impact fires vs fixing the Pinto's design. That is the common narrative. When stating that a common myth is not as people think one often starts off by stating what the common myth actually is.
So you would claim that he used a racist plan to reach out to "white-collar Republicans and moderate swing voters in the metropolitan centers of the Sunbelt South and West and the upwardly mobile suburbs of the Midwest and Northeast."? Seriously? Additionally, the comments by Lassiter are perfectly relevant to the article as a statement of supposed impact. The current article mentions it and this information would do much to support that mention.
Nixon's presidency clearly shown he was not against supporting civil rights, rather his record was rather strong on the subject. So how does a claim of appealing to racist whites align with a strong, positive record on Civil Rights issues? It would seem at this point one needs to review what claims were made (what appeals). The current article is sadly lacking in that area. Perhaps you are the one to offer that list of promises? In any case, we have sources that say Nixon's campaign was about not scaring off southern voters vs actively appealing to racism. We also have sources that say his civil-rights record was strong. That supports the people, quoted by Small, who said there was no southern strategy. Given the time frame of the interviews one must conclude their "no southern strategy" view was as compared to the reports that were out there and very damning.
In your last paragraph you can conclude what ever you want. It's clear to me that you want nothing more than to be an obstructionist for an article you have never been involved in. Odd that. You certainly haven't applied this level of skepticism to the sources used in the article. Please refrain from using trollish statements such as, "I appreciate you supplying more scholarly sources that directly refute your earlier argument. This is how progress is made.". If you cannot I will ask that you be blocked from this discussion. --Getoverpops (talk) 11:19, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
I read Brattain's article and agree with Scoobydunk's comments about it. Getoverpops btw you should not quote long passages from texts, both for copyright reasons and because it does not invite other editors to participate. TFD (talk) 07:17, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
That is unfortunate as you would make the same mistake SD made. The part he used as "proof" was the author restating the myth. Are you going to pass such careful review on the sources in the article? Given that quotes were demanded I do not feel I can simply reduce the length because you don't wish to read so much. If we want that then I think we should use the professional reviewer's take on the books... SD said he wasn't happy about that.

At this point I think it would be best to move on to the next part of this process where we discuss what changes can be made within the article. --Getoverpops (talk) 11:19, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

You can ask as many times as you want but I'm going to stick with making my replies relevant to the conversation, instead of trying to witch hunt for instances of canvassing. Also, I'm not missing the point and your original comment was "any discussion of the "Southern Strategy" would, if they are correct, reach the conclusion that the strategy had at best a minimal impact." It is not our responsibility to conclude what the impact of the Southern Strategy was and that is what I was speaking to. You then tried to change this statement to "It IS our purpose here to conclude sufficient information exists to justify adding these sources as references to the article." This was not the statement I was responding to and it is different from the previous statement. I'm seeing a pattern of abandoning arguments and altering statements when confronted with conflicting evidence. This is what "obstructionist" editing actually looks like, as it prevents us from reaching a conclusion because the goal posts keep being moved. I'd advise that we resolve the present argument before attempting to move-on to new ones.
Regarding Brittain, I did not miss the point of her article. The parts I quoted directly discuss the racism inherent in the Southern Strategy. The "myth" that you refer to and that she discusses was that racism solely belonged to the south which undermined the existence of racism in other parts of the nation. Brittain says: "I understand the impulse to expose the myth of American racism as an exclusively Southern phenomenon and to do justice to the genuine complexity of Southern history." She also recognizes and admits that the trend among scholars was that this racism was an exclusively Southern phenomenon, or at least is presented as such. So this doesn't contradict the quotes I've supplied earlier and Brittain only attempts to distract from the subject of Southern racism by calling out instances of racism in other parts of the country like her appeals to the Philadelphia example. I didn't read Brittain claiming that there was "no racist southern strategy" or anything of the sort and that's why it doesn't substantiate your earlier argument.
Again, detailed information about Nixon's presidency are better served on his own article and isn't an opportunity to push a narrative about the Southern Strategy not being racist. It was racist and every single scholarly source we've discussed has confirmed the issue of race related to the Southern Strategy. You mention wanting to move on to discussing what needs to be changed in the article and I've already addressed this. I've spoken to exactly the type of information from Lassiter that would be a reasonable inclusion and nothing we've discussed or seen from Lassiter speaks to the Southern Strategy not being racist. Also, the parts I read from Small talked about how Nixon did use the Southern Strategy. The parts you included from Small make reference to someone else emphasizing Nixon's claim that there was no southern strategy, but this is not a claim made by the author of the peer reviewed work himself. Small also discusses Huff who admits that Nixon did use the Southern Strategy and says it was "short lived". Again, neither of these support a claim that there "was no southern strategy" used by the Nixon administration and at most can could only be used to characterized how Nixon perceived his presidency which is not inline with how scholarly published historical works perceive his presidency. So if you want to discuss a specific change, then supply it and we'll discuss it. Thus far, you haven't supplied anything to substantiate a claim that the Southern Strategy wasn't racist, and that's what caught my attention on this board. Oh, I also ask that you not to attempt to reduce my genuine sentiments to "trolling" or "obstructionism". I am actually grateful to have additional sources of peer reviewed quality that reiterate the fact that the Southern Strategy was used by Republicans to appeal to racial resentments in the south. That's how stronger articles get made, which is what I'm seeking here.Scoobydunk (talk) 15:26, 29 March 2015 (UTC)