Talk:Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting

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FAIR=left leaning[edit]

FAIR is a left leaning organization. Attempting to purge this detail is a significant violation of NPOV. (talk) 19:43, 3 June 2008 (UTC) That's my comment. The browser I was using didn't have me logged in. Trilemma (talk) 19:45, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

See the above discussion, especially the comments by Hal Raglan and Bigtimepeace. Gamaliel (talk) 19:58, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
The notion that we are somehow tied to describe an organization based on how it describes itself is absurd and not in keeping with generally practiced editing. Several third party links establish that FAIR is left-leaning; if you use the term 'left-leaning' you can be accurate without getting into the semantics of liberal vs progressive, while reflecting the documented descriptions of the site. If you do not show FAIR's bias, then you are violating NPOV. Newsbusters is just as valid as FAIR, and it has a description of its leaning in its lead. Trilemma (talk) 20:18, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
When you say "newsbusters", if you are referring to the article on Media Research Center, it does identify them as "conservative" in the lead, but it is sourced to the organization's own description of itself. This is what we advocate doing here, quoting FAIR's self-description as "progressive". With that description in place, there is no need for additional qualifiers which may be contested by FAIR and may or may not be accurate. Gamaliel (talk) 20:58, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Once again though, the issue is with relying upon self-description. Observe the Institute for Historical Review page. Under the standard you're laying forth, we would be obligated to take at face value their description and publish it without regard to classification by third party sources. But we don't, because self-classification means only so much. Trilemma (talk) 21:07, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
This comparison has been made before. In that case, it was pointed out that this was a case of obviously inaccurate and deceptive description and that there were more than enough sources to back up the case that IHR were Holocaust deniers. In this case, there is no deception, and there have been no sources presented to establish that FAIR is not "progressive". Why is "progressive" inaccurate and unsatisfactory? What compelling reason do we have to override the organization's description of itself? Gamaliel (talk) 21:44, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Right now, the opening sentence reads: "Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is a media criticism organization based in New York City, founded in 1986." This does not express its point of view. MRC, in comparison, reads, "The Media Research Center (MRC) is a conservative[1][2] media criticism organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, founded in 1987 by L. Brent Bozell III." If the ideological perspective of MRC warrants mentioning in the opening line, then we ought to apply this standard to FAIR.
Conservative is a broadly accepted term. Progressive is not. I think a reasonable opening would be, "Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is a left wing media criticism organization based in New York City, founded in 1986. It describes itself as a 'progressive group that believes that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong non-profit sources of information.'" This is a more unbiased presentation in keeping with relevant comparisons. Trilemma (talk) 21:53, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
If placement is an issue, I have no problem moving the word progressive to an earlier place in the intro. I still don't see any reason to override their self-description. Gamaliel (talk) 22:13, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I rarely see third party sources use the term "progressive," in terms of contemporary politics. So far as I can tell, it is a manufactured term, used because the term "liberal" has a certain stigma attached to it in modern society, lacking broader usage. Trilemma (talk) 22:20, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Our article on progressivism indicates that it is a well-established philosophy. And if there is a stigma attached to the word "liberal", then we should avoid using such a loaded term as per WP:NPOV. Gamaliel (talk) 22:24, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
There was a well developed branch of progressive philosophy in the 20th century, that is only loosely related to modern left-wing ideology that has rebranded itself "progressive." But I do agree with you about the term liberal, which is why I advocate the use of the term "left wing". It is more accurate, accepted, and stigma-free. Trilemma (talk) 22:28, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Regardless of the etymology of the term, I still don't see a reason to replace it in favor of one we cook up here. Gamaliel (talk) 22:35, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, although it's not my ideal, I can live with progressive being the term. The larger point is to establish its ideological base in the opening sentence. So, "Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) is a self-described progressive media criticism organization based in New York City, founded in 1986." would be my suggestion under this framework. Trilemma (talk) 22:39, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
Why do we need to slap a descriptor on the organization in the opening sentence? Why don't we follow the lead of Accuracy in Media, Media Matters for America, and similar groups? Especially as FAIR's self-description of being a "progressive group" is clearly noted in the second paragraph of the lead. -Hal Raglan (talk) 00:47, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Because ideological media watchdogs warrant having their ideological base being mentioned in the opening sentence. That's the standard that was applied to MRC and it's the standard that warrants adoption for all ideological media watchdog groups. Trilemma (talk) 01:34, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Sounds like you're using one wikipedia article -- MRC -- to base some kind of standard for all of the encyclopedia. Why don't you use the articles I described above as the standard, as well as the previous accepted version of this article? -Hal Raglan (talk) 02:30, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Not all of the encyclopedia, just ideological media watchdog groups. It's imperative that the lead sentence establish where they're coming from along with what they are. Trilemma (talk) 02:42, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree that these groups should be labelled consistently, along with other ideological organizations like think tanks. A while back I surveyed some of the think tanks listed here along with some of the "watchdogs", and found much inconsistency. Some were self labelled but others were labelled according to third party opinions. When I tried to make them consistent I was reverted and labelled a whitewasher and/or POV pusher, so I decided I didn't care enough to bother.
But I still feel there is much inconsistency in these groups - see, for example American Enterprise Institute which is labelled both conservative and neoconservative in the opening sentence despite the fact that they claim neither. So I think it comes down to consistency: we either label all these groups according to what third parties call them ("liberal FAIR", "conservative AEI") or we use their own self identifying labels ("progressive FAIR", "non-profit think tank AEI"). Anything else is POV, but try to change that on each individual page and you will likely get attacked. I personally prefer using reliable third party labels everywhere, or perhaps no label at all (just discuss their beliefs and tendencies in the body of the article and let the reader decide). But whatever it is, it should be consistent for all groups on both sides, and last time I checked it was not.
I wonder if this issue (how to consistently label ideological groups) should be formally documented somewhere on a policy or guideline page? I remember searching for guidance on this issue but could find none. ATren (talk) 13:08, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
That's a good point, thanks for adding that. If we could get a standardized policy for ideological think tanks, media watchdog groups etc. in terms of how and when to describe their ideological base, that would be good. Personally, I would favor a format that would be something like:
"(organization) is a (third party description) (thinktank/media watchdog group etc.) that describes itself as "(first party description)". Trilemma (talk) 13:43, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
And how do we decide which third party description is valid? Many of these descriptions are made by careless journalists in passing or ideological opponents of the organization. If we rely on the self-description, all issues of POV and bias and inaccuracy are avoided. Gamaliel (talk) 14:17, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Come now, you're not going to honestly allege that the multitudinous references provided above are the result of careless journalists or ideological opponents, are you? For any major organization, there will be a clear consensus amongst third party sources and that'd be a solid starting ground. Trilemma (talk) 14:55, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm saying these are issues to consider, issues that are completely avoided by relying on the organization itself, a policy which insures accuracy and neutrality - with the exception of deceivers like the IHR - almost all of the time. Gamaliel (talk) 15:02, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
My point above is that this needs to be consistently applied to all such groups. A quick scan of think tanks listed here shows several have labels that are not consistent with their self-stated label:
This analysis deals only with think tanks, but I've seen the same kind of inconsistency on "watchdog" groups as well. I've dipped my toes into this debate before, primarily on AEI, but was immediately reverted. It's clearly an inconsistent policy, but there are editors who feel very strongly about applying 3rd party labels to certain groups, and I don't care enough to war about it. ATren (talk) 16:04, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
In the case of the Heritage foundation, you claim "conservative" is sourced to an ideological opponent. Actually, their mission statement, quoted in the intro, states they "formulate and promote conservative public policies". What is being sourced by an the PFTAW website is the statement regarding their prominence. That intro seems perfectly acceptable to me. Gamaliel (talk) 16:11, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Yes, you're correct about Heritage, I missed that - but the source should be changed to reflect that rather than being sourced to FAIR. (Update - I've since fixed Heritage sourcing) ATren (talk) 16:15, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm a strong supporter of ATren's suggestion that in the articles under discussion it might be best "to use no label at all (just discuss their beliefs and tendencies in the body of the article and let the reader decide)". I find real potential for POV-pushing to insist on inserting a descriptor in the lead sentence. So far, nobody has come up with a reason to do so other than that it is allegedly "imperative". -Hal Raglan (talk) 01:29, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
It's obviously important to identify the slant of an organization, because it's one of the most basic things you need to know in order to evaluate the credibility of what they say. If an organization that's generally viewed by reliable sources as non-partisan states that such-and-such reporting is biased in a right-wing or pro-Israel way, it's somewhat credible. If Ann Coulter, who is known to be extremely right-wing, says that such and such reporting is biased in a way that favors the right wing, then on face value I would consider it extremely credible (although I'd still do a cursory look at what the left-wingers say, to see if she has an ulterior motive). But if a known left-wing, anti-Israel org like FAIR says that some reporting is right-wing or pro-Israel, then it has almost no credibility. This is exactly the kind of info that people come to Wikipedia to find: Searching on your own through reliable sources to find what they say (and even knowing which sources are reliable for which kinds of statements) is a lot of work. That's why we need to say that FAIR is left-wing, Counterpunch is very left-wing, Fox News is right-wing, Michelle Malkin is very right-wing, etc. etc. Benwing (talk) 01:12, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
Clearly you have an axe to grind with FAIR, but we try to maintain neutrality here. There is no need to spoon-feed opinion to readers. Let them make up their own minds. --Loonymonkey (talk) 16:57, 28 July 2011 (UTC)
No, CLEARLY you didn't read what Benwing had to say about the issue. Completely dismissing all of Benwing's points merely because you dislike him/her calling FAIR a left-wing organization really says something about your skills as a Wikipedia editor. Did you read the parts where Benwing clearly identified right-wing organizations as right-wing? Editors like you are the reason I am ALWAYS skeptical about information on Wikipedia. Benwing's methodology is a good one - hostile sources that report favorably on something they disagree with are usually good sources, but hostile sources that repeat their biases are NOT good sources (usually). Clearly you, sir, have an axe to grind. The scary thing is that you are an editor. In relation to the article itself: It is much better to label an organization as left-wing or right-wing than "progressive," or even "conservative" and "liberal" - they are more neutral terms. There definitely needs to be some consistent labeling considering the fact that language is often abused on Wikipedia to slant articles (For example: The Southern Democrat article that I had to demolish before anyone would change...I don't feel comfortable changing an article myself). FAIR is obviously a left-wing organization - there is simply no debate here. They almost exclusively criticize right-wing organizations. Their criteria for a good news source is "diversity" (laughably...), under which Rachel Maddow would be unbiased and a staff of white males would be extremely biased. Of course this is directed at organizations like Fox News. (talk) 19:26, 10 January 2013 (UTC)

I have no problem with the accuracy of the term "left-leaning." In the context of Stephen Colbert's observation that facts have a strong liberal bias, that is quite a compliment and an endorsement of its worth. (talk) 02:37, 10 April 2016 (UTC)

Tagged for reverts[edit]

I reworded progressive to left-leaning as it was both subjective, a known buzzword, and it is a self-sourced statement; which would be fine if it weren't for the fact that it is worded as an objective encyclopedic statement. There is also a statement in the introductory paragraph that correctly does this: "FAIR refers to itself as a "progressive group ..."" which is fine. I also have additional concerns about the POV disparity of this articles introduction compared with Accuracy in Media but apart from writing a completely identical introduction I don't feel it warrants more attention than fast reverts to my edits in the name of sourced wording, which is self-sourced and highly subjective. --   papajohnin (talk)(?)  12:49, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

re: progressivism — I don't know what you mean by "known buzzword"; a word search at that article comes up empty for the word "buzz". Yes, it is sourced to itself, which is acceptable, and I can't think of anything more "subjective" than to vaguely claim something "leans". I've replaced the sourced wording, and added an outside source as well.
I have also removed the wikilink from within a direct quotation, per WP:MOS. Do you have any specific "concerns about the POV disparity of this articles introduction"? Xenophrenic (talk) 16:56, 21 April 2013 (UTC)
re: progressivism I'm concerned specifically with the use of the use of the word Progressive. In the current context it is used to describe Contemporary Progressivism which is used as a buzzword for and links to Modern Liberalism which makes its use here confusing for readers and unencyclopedic.
re: acceptable use. Specifically it goes against numbered list items 1 and 5. "the material is neither unduly self-serving nor an exceptional claim;" and "the article is not based primarily on such sources."
--   papajohnin (talk)(?)  00:44, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
I disagree. Perhaps we should get a 3rd opinion? I've reverted your edit per WP:BRD. Xenophrenic (talk) 02:21, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
It looks like there is no other solution at this point but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you, virtually all of your edits to this article have been reverts to edits that are critical of the articles subject and were also cited. One specific example being a cited NPR article calling FAIR liberal. I'm also reverting back to my edit per WP:BRD. --   papajohnin (talk)(?)  09:16, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Again you have removed a citation without explanation, and you have inserted a wikilink into a direct quotation gainst WP:MOS. I've reverted that edit. I'm also unfamiliar with the "one specific example" to which you refer. Xenophrenic (talk) 15:06, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
FAIR is liberal, Progressive is just a buzzword used to confuse. However, given that you think we should self-identify here, why the refusal on the TPM page? Arzel (talk) 16:01, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
"FAIR is liberal" in what way? And "progressive" isn't defined in any of the links provided as a "buzzword used to confuse"; so you'll excuse me if I don't take your contradictory assertion at face-value. As for my "refusal" of something, could you please point that out to me so that I can understand what it is you are talking about? Thanks, Xenophrenic (talk) 17:31, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Widely used descriptors such as left, leftist, left-leaning are accurate and belong in the lede. Self-sourcing is problematic. And [Progressive]] leads readers to a confusing entry that cannot help the ordinary user. the lede for Accuracy in Media should be a model (reverse model) for this lede.ShulMaven (talk) 00:27, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
"Widely used" must be your description, as I did not find that qualifier in any of the cited sources, and "left, leftist, left-leaning" is redundant; multiple variations of essentially the same word do not belong in the lede. Some might argue those are also somewhat redundant to 'progressive', as well. Please keep in mind that the lede is supposed to remain succinct, and should summarize the body of the article. Unsourced qualifications like "in part" should not be used in the lede (such phrasing leaves the reader wondering what the other "parts" are). "is describes itself" is improper grammar. I've reverted the latest edit while we work on these issues here. Xenophrenic (talk) 19:55, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
I disagree with you that the Progressivism link is unhelpful to readers, but I've replaced that wikilink with a more direct one. Let me know if that helps. The source you've introduced, The News Shapers by Soley, is interesting (although a bit old - 1990). While that author does mention AIM, he actually says FAIR was formed "in response to the ever-growing number of organizations dedicated to 'exposing' liberal bias...". That appears to agree with the co-founder's explanation here, where he also mentions AIM, but says "FAIR was launched in mid-1986 at a time when the major media were bending distinctly rightward. Big media businesses were being absorbed by even bigger ones, with dangerous implications for those viewpoints already underrepresented. Well-financed right-wing groups like the misnamed Accuracy In Media (AIM)...". So while AIM might be just one example, the salient point both these sources convey is that FAIR was formed in response to the proliferation of right-wing media organizations, not just one. We should be able to convey that in the lede, while we can detail specific media organizations like AIM in the body of the article. Xenophrenic (talk) 20:29, 22 October 2014 (UTC)