Talk:Gerald Posner

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This article needs a huge amount of clean-up. Posner is an author who has written ten books. But the majority of this article is about some of the content from a single chapter in one of his books. I don't want to turn this article into a debate about conspiracy theories, but we need some perspective. MK2 22:32, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • I added {NPOV} to this page. You're right, it does need a lot of work. As you point out, over half of the article is about part of one chapter of one of his books. It reads as an attempted indictment of the "single bullet theory". More more of my objections: Posner wasn't the first to theorize about the single bullet - that was the Warrern Commission. The evidence soon moved it from theory to fact - all of the accumulated physical evidence is in agreement with the theory and no real evidence contracts it. Posner isn't theorizing about the single bullet theory, he examines the mass of evidence that support the theory as being correct. --Bubba73 17:24, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • In addition, since when is "assassinator" a word? --Roygbiv666

I decided to be bold and snipped out the paragraph. I'm reposting it here for, well, whatever you want. Gamaliel 19:23, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Posner theorized that when Oswald fired his first shot he fired it into the foliage of a closeby tree, only 62' away from Oswald. Posner theorized that first bullet was deflected by a tree branch then traveled some 425', hit the south upper curbstone of Main Street, and caused the right facial cheek wound on James Tague (Tague has always stated he was struck concurrent with the second or third shot --or second or third volley of shots-- Tague remembered hearing). Tague has stated that Posner has never interviewed him, while Posner responds that he has tapes of himself interviewing Tague for his book and cites his phone bill as evidence of conversations with Tague and others. Posner theorized that Oswald fired a second shot less than one second after Kennedy became visible again from behind the tree at Zapruder film frame 207 to 208. Posner theorized that this second bullet was the "single bullet theory" bullet that passed through both Kennedy and Governor John Connally at Zapruder film frame 223, causing seven wounds (counting each entrance and exit wound seperately) while breaking two major body bones, yet the bullet was later found at Parkland Hospital in nearly intact condition, having lost only a documented 1.5% of its average weight. Posner theorized that the third and final 265.3' shot was fired by Oswald and killed Kennedy when it struck him in the right rear of his head between Zapruder frame 312 and 313.

With the "offending" passage removed, shouldn't the article be considered neutral now? Roygbiv666

Yes, I think so. I put up the NPOV so I'll remove it. Now, though, I think the article needs more. Bubba73 16:27, July 11, 2005 (UTC)

CIA Tapes[edit]

Someone who cares about this more than I do might want to add this in: The erased CIA tapes that are at the center of a current scandal may have contained footage of the interrogation detailed in Posner's 2003 book.[1] And while you're at it, please clean up that section a bit.--Rockero (talk) 07:47, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Is that because of a medical condition or plastic surgery though? He looks very strange....hormonal imbalance, plastic surgery addiction, or something else?? (talk) 14:42, 20 October 2009 (UTC)


Where did that photo come from, and how relevent is it? Posner is over 50 now. He looks like a punk rocker in the pic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:41, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Professional Liar and Traitor to the US Constitution[edit]

CIA agent E. Howard Hunt's confession to being part of the JFK conspiracy has now been made public. Likewise, the evidence, from the NORAD standing down to the obviously controlled demolition of WTC 7, makes it obvious to the un-brainwashed that 9/11 was staged by the US government. Whether this guy just freelances or actually is contracted to cover-up the crimes of the deep state is somewhat irrelevant here, either way this guy is a professional liar and a traitor to the US constitution.

Why does Wikipedia have to lie too? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:30, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

There are no links provided to the quotes--which are attributed to the NY Times, Gary Wills and the LA Times--praising Posner's "investigative journalism" in the bio section. Can these quotes be verified?---


This page was recently vandalized below the References area. (some silliness about being in the Nazi party and killing Michael Jackson. Perhaps it should be locked.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 13:37, 7 August 2009‎ (UTC)

It has been vandalized twice now but it's been cleaned up pretty fast both times --Trishawiki (talk) 14:25, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Dispute regarding plagiarism section[edit]

Critical references and information are repeatedly being removed to minimize the information on plagiarism. The repeated removal of details and portions of the documentation - especially in regard to quote tampering - is inappropriate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:15, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

For the second time, do not make unfounded accusations against other editors. You have no evidence to show that edits were made for anything other than the stated reason. The quote tampering allegation was removed because it is sourced to a blog. It is forbidden by policy to make such accusations without a solid source (i.e. a mainstream newspaper). Gamaliel (talk) 01:56, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

The blog article contains clear documentation of many cases of plagiarism not discussed elsewhere, and quote tampering within the plagiarized text. All of these instances of plagiarism and quote tampering link to the sources (the relevant Posner article on the Daily Beast and the source which was plagiarized from). I’m actually the individual who discovered Posner’s serial plagiarism and provided the information to Jack Shafer (resulting in Jack’s articles). The material discussed on the blog is the information which, once forwarded to the editors at Daily Beast, resulted in Posner’s resignation. Since all the sources are linked in the blog article, there is little that can be argued with (in the way of solid documentation). And, incidentally, I’m not a conspiracy buff, and was blissfully unaware of Posner until a week ago. I find plagiarism (and lack of integrity in journalism) offensive, and thus began pursuing it. I also think it’s questionable that you previously edited the discussion page to remove this edit warring section. The point of a discussion page is exactly to resolve disputes to avoid repeated reversions in the primary article. I’m willing to work with you on a consensus product, with professional language, but removal of plagiarism documentation and details is inappropriate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eurytemora (talkcontribs) 02:30, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

I've responded to what appear to be identical comments left on my talk page if anyone is interested in my position on the matter. See User_talk:Gamaliel#Gerald_Posner_page. Gamaliel (talk) 14:36, 14 February 2010 (UTC)


The following constitutes a large portion of the Gerald Posner biography (i.e. the initial segment of the Gerald Posner Wikipedia entry):

"John Martin of ABC News says ‘Gerald Posner is one of the most resourceful investigators I have encountered in thirty years of journalism.’ Garry Wills calls Posner ‘a superb investigative reporter,’ while the Los Angeles Times dubs him ‘a classic-style investigative journalist.’ ‘His work is painstakingly honest journalism’ concluded the Washington Post. The New York Times lauded his ‘exhaustive research techniques’ and The Boston Globe determined Posner is ‘an investigative journalist whose work is marked by his thorough and meticulous research.’ ‘A resourceful investigator and skillful writer,’ says The Dallas Morning News."

One or two quotes might not be problematic. But this certainly has the feel of an advertisement. It’s disproportionate in length and especially problematic since it now appears that, in reality, he is neither “painstakingly honest” nor “meticulous” (having plagiarized, falsified quotes in the plagiarized text, etc.). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eurytemora (talkcontribs) 07:53, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

There have been a lot of questions recently about how much of Posner's writing is his own (versus plagiarized). One thing we can be sure about is that he did write most of his own Wikipedia biography section (other than the recently added paragraph about plagiarism). Most of the biography is an exact (word for word) match to the advertisement on his website. See: Yet Wikipedia administrators seem content to let Posner's self-written puffery remain, while content elsewhere in this entry has been rewritten to largely minimize information on journalistic transgressions. Let's hear it for Wikipedia professionalism! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:01, 27 March 2010 (UTC)


Critical information regarding the Posner Plagiarism case appears to be missing. Article appears to be biased and lacking in recent data. Information on plagiarism appears to be minimized and deserves its own subheading. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:49, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Apparent errors in the laudatory section of the biography[edit]

Much of the Posner biography section appears to have been written by Posner himself. It’s an exact duplicate of the advertisement at his website. There have been complaints that the laudatory quotations were not sourced, so I decided to check them, at least in the case of the newspapers Posner cites. Also, in general, a newspaper as a whole doesn’t make such statements (as Posner’s language would imply) – rather, a particular book reviewer or reporter, writing in the newspaper, is making the statement.

>"A resourceful investigator and skillful writer," says The Dallas Morning News.

An exhaustive text search of the Dallas Morning News archives failed to find any such quote referring to Posner.

> The Boston Globe determined Posner is "an investigative journalist whose work is marked by his thorough and meticulous research."

An exhaustive text search of the Boston Globe archives failed to find such a quote referring to Posner.

> "His work is painstakingly honest journalism" concluded the Washington Post.

An exhaustive text search of the Washington Post archives failed to find any such quote referring to Posner. However, I was able to find the phrase “painstakingly honest journalism" referring to Posner in an article written by Joe Sharkey in New York Times. The remainder of the quote differed however.

The remaining two quotes (one from the Los Angeles Times and one from the New York Times) were both verified as correct. The language of the biography section has been modified accordingly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:34, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

[from trishawiki until my signoff] There seems to be some issue with some of the laudatory references to Posner's bio. Upon further research, here is some additional material and specific citations, covering several of his books in particular, and work in general.

“If we can finally accept Oswald as the lone killer, it's not only because of Posner's thorough and hard-edge investigation, it's also because of our own changing times. We are forced to accept chaos as easily as conspiracy now.” Ellen Goodman syndicated column, Boston Globe, November 18, 1993.

Anthony Lewis, NYTBR, April 26, 1998: “Gerald Posner, who tackled the Kennedy conspiracy myths in ‘Case Closed,’ now takes on the claims advanced by James Earl Ray and his supporters. With ‘Killing the Dream,’ he has written a superb book: a model of investigation, meticulous in its discovery and presentation of evidence, unbiased in its exploration of every claim. And it is a wonderfully readable book, as gripping as a first-class detective story.”

Kansas City Star, November 13, 2003: “Also notable from 1993 was a terrific three-hour documentary, ‘Who Was Lee Harvey Oswald?’ produced by the PBS series ‘Frontline.’ It will reair at 9 p.m. ET Thursday on KCPT, Channel 19. Using Gerald Posner as an expert witness -- he had just written Case Closed, a meticulous brief for the lone-gunman view – ‘Frontline’ picked apart all of the most plausible alternative scenarios for the killings of both Kennedy and Oswald.”

The Weekend Australian, January 25, 2003: “To connoisseurs of the beat, the new doco-cum-concert film Standing in the Shadows of Motown (opening on January 30) is to the Motown sound and history what The Buena Vista Social Club was to Cuban jazz. If you need more, however, Gerald Posner, no musician but a meticulous researcher, has just published Motown: Money, Power, Sex and Music (Random House) which gives the lowdown on Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr…”

Publishers Weekly, December 16, 2002: “As in his previous works, Posner is at his strongest demonstrating his meticulous research skills, most notably scouring court archives in Detroit to reveal details of how Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. often unfairly and unscrupulously dealt with artists whom he helped discover, like Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder.”

Florida Today, April 24, 2000: “The industry standard belongs perhaps to lawyer-turned- investigative reporter Gerald Posner, whose meticulous Case Closed in 1993 was an immersion into assassination minutiae.”

Chicago Tribune, April 20, 1998: “Posner, a former Wall Street lawyer, demolishes myths through a meticulous re-examination of the facts. Then he reads the books and magazine articles and newspaper stories that have led conspiracy theorists to their leaping conclusions.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 14, 1998: “Author Posner comes into this book with wonderful credentials. In 1993, he wrote ‘Case Closed,’ which concluded after meticulous research that conspiracy theories aside, Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in putting a bullet through the brain of John F. Kennedy.”

The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), April 3, 1998: “Posner gives us well-researched journalism, thoroughly sourced with on-the-record interviews and meticulous footnoting.” The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), September 29, 1996: “Posner is the author of 1994's masterful ‘Case Closed,’ which made as meticulous and readable an argument as can be made for Lee Harvey Oswald's sole responsibility in the murder of John F. Kennedy.”

Desert News (Salt Lake City), September 1, 1996: “In a meticulous manner, Posner traces Perot's life and motivations from his birth in Texarkana to his formation of a new political party this year.”

New York Daily News, August 14, 1996: “It is a fascinating, lively, instructive and at times knee-slappingly funny story, told with the limited cooperation of Perot, who obviously realized early on that Posner, a meticulous and serious researcher, was not putting together a puff piece.”

The Toronto Sun, February 22, 1994: “In fact, I think all conspiracy theories are blown out of the water by Posner's meticulous research and careful conclusions.”

Sydney Morning Herald, November 27, 1993: “PAINSTAKING re-examination of the greatest murder mystery of modern times: who killed JFK? It's no mystery concludes lawyer/journalist [Posner]: lone assassin Lee Harvey Oswald did it. And who would argue after reading this meticulous analysis, complete with graphics, illustrations and detailed appendices?”

Chicago Tribune, October 3, 1993: “Half of ‘Case Closed’ is a meticulous examination of Oswald's entire life, culminating in an almost day-by-day chronicle of his movements in the last two months before the assassination.”

Newsday (New York), September 16, 1993: “Posner employs meticulous research to reach what counts as a novel conclusion: That, for all its flaws, the Warren Commission was right. Oswald killed JFK without help from anyone.”

USA Today, February 4, 2003: “Posner is thorough. In matter-of-fact style, he recounts the stories behind Shop Around, Please Mr. Postman and other songs. He details the lovemaking, drug-taking and artistic rivalries that characterized Motown as it moved from Hitsville to a Detroit office building and finally to Los Angeles, where Gordy lost sight of the music and began making movies.”

The Herald (Rock Hill, SC), January 16, 2005: “A thorough investigation into the King assassination that concludes James Earl Ray acted alone.”

Sunday News (Lancaster, PA), May 10, 1998: “Posner continues his hole punching with a thorough examination of Ray's varying stories, which have changed over the years.”

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, March 29, 1998: “A thorough look at Ray, Gerald Posner is the author of a new book on the King assassination, ‘Killing the Dream.’ Posner is a well-credentialed lawyer; among his previous books is ‘Case Closed,’ which most serious journalists and historians regard as far and away the best volume on the assassination of JFK.”

The Herald (Glasgow), March 13, 1998: “This American author's detailed research and thorough analysis expose the myths surrounding Kennedy's and Oswald's deaths for what they are - rumours and conjecture accepted as established facts, and established facts being ignored because they don't fit the desired scenario of a conspiracy.”

The Toronto Sun, December 1, 1996: “Posner's book re-examining the JFK assassination was, according to most critics, the definitive word on that much-discussed tragedy (he found no evidence of a conspiracy). He brings the same balanced, thorough and common-sense approach to this Perot profile.”

Agence France Presse, November 21, 1993: “In the flurry of publications marking the 30th anniversary of Kennedy's death, one book, ‘Case Closed’ by journalist Gerald Posner, was singled out for its thorough and thoughtful treatment of the subject.”

Buffalo News (New York), October 24, 1993: “[P]osner has done an impressively thorough job with the ashes of a 30-year-old case.” The Miami Herald, October 10, 1993: “Richard Reeves' President Kennedy and Gerald Posner's Case Closed are rigorously thorough and finely crafted contributions to a confusing historical record.”

Newsday (New York), September 16, 1993: “Its appeal lies both in its thorough, apparently even-handed research, and the fact that, following the publication in recent years of a near-constant stream of conspiracy books, ‘Case Closed’ may be the first by a respected author to argue persuasively for the Oswald-alone theory, a scenario most Americans dismissed years ago.”

The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), September 11, 1993: “The author is also thorough in his coverage of Oswald's Marine service and subsequent defection to the Soviet Union (information about which is scarce).”

Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), September 18, 1993: “Posner's exact and thorough destruction of the conspiracy theorists gives you Oswald the man, not Oswald the brilliant secret agent or Oswald the hapless patsy.”

The Toronto Star, November 20, 1993: “Case Closed is not by any means a crackpot work but a thorough job with some pretensions to scholarship.”

(Mixed) Fresno Bee (California), August 11, 1996: “The big question, though, is whether Perot would be a good president. After reading this thorough look at Perot from birth to political death, that question remains unanswered.”

(Negative) Palm Beach Post (Florida), May 3, 1998: “Posner's care in detailing every fact and assertion is so thorough, his book is at times slow going.”

Jeffrey Toobin, Chicago Tribune Review of Case Closed, September 12, 1993: “Unlike many of the 2,000 other books that have been written about the Kennedy assassination, Posner's ‘Case Closed’ is a resolutely sane piece of work. More importantly, ‘Case Closed’ is utterly convincing in its thesis, which seems, in light of all that has transpired over the past 30 years, almost revolutionary. His thesis is this: Lee Harvey Oswald killed Kennedy by himself…. I started ‘Case Closed’ as a skeptic - and slightly put off by the presumptuous title. To my mind historical truth is always a slippery thing. The chances of knowing for sure what happened in any event - much less one as murky as the Kennedy assassination - seem remote. But this fascinating and important book won me over. Case closed, indeed.”

Gene Lyons, Entertainment Weekly, September 24, 1993: “As thorough and incisive a job of reporting and critical thinking as you will ever read, Case Closed does more than buttress the much beleaguered Warren Commission's conclusion ….More than that, Posner's book is written in a penetrating, lucid style that makes it a joy to read. Even the footnotes, often briskly debunking one or another fanciful or imaginary scenario put forth by the conspiracy theorists, rarely fail to enthrall…. Case Closed is a work of genuine patriotism and a monument to the astringent power of reason. ‘A’”

US News & World Report, August 23, 1993: “He [Posner] sweeps away decades of polemical smoke, layer by layer, and builds an unshakable case against JFK's killer.”

NY Times, June 26, 1998: “A recent book on the subject, ‘Killing the Dream,’ by Gerald Posner, which some reviewers said was a definitive study of the assassination, found no credible evidence to support Mr. Ray's contention that he was manipulated into a conspiracy, or that the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Central Intelligence Agency covered up evidence in Dr. King's murder.”

NYTBR (in the review of Norman Mailer’s Oswald’s Tale), April 30, 1995. “Gerald Posner's ‘Case Closed’ (1993), which argues with an awesome command of evidentiary detail that Oswald did it, period.”

NPR, April 6, 1998: “Gerald Posner's book is a detailed and even exhaustive examination of James Earl Ray and the assassination.”

Dallas Morning News, June 22, 1997: “More than three decades after the Kennedy assassination, there still are Americans who wonder. Gerald Posner's masterful study of that case should have laid those doubts to rest for thinking readers…”

“You've debunked the Kennedy assassination theories. You've debunked the Martin Luther King assassination theories in hardback. You've done this in a magazine article [debunking Princess Di murder theories]. I'm a big fan of yours, obviously, Gerald…. you've done it again.” – Chris Matthews, August 31, 1999

“The famed investigative reporter” – Larry King, April 25, 1999. [[[User:Trishawiki|Trishawiki]] (talk) 15:04, 31 January 2012 (UTC)trishawiki] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Trishawiki (talkcontribs) 14:29, 31 January 2012 (UTC) ---Trishawiki (talk) 15:04, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Also, "What we need is a work of painstakingly honest journalism, a la ‘Case Closed,’ Gerald Posner's landmark re-examination of the assassination of John F. Kennedy.” Joe Sharkey, "Jeffrey MacDonald's New Jury," NY Times, March 19, 1995.

“After Case Closed, everybody thinks Oswald did it” – Time, January 3, 1994, under “Winners and Losers,” p. 18. Under “Losers,” it says: “JFK CONSPIRACY BUFFS – With the publication of Case Closed, suddenly everyone agrees: Oswald did act alone.” (All caps in original)

May 3, 1998, Craig Flournoy review of Killing the Dream: “Gerald Posner conclusively demonstrates that Mr. Ray shot and killed Dr. King….Mr. Posner, who has written a critically acclaimed book on the assassination of John F. Kennedy….meticulously demolishes the various alibis and conspiracy theories put forth by Mr. Ray, his lawyers and supporters.”--Trishawiki (talk) 15:10, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

An Additional Apparently Erroneous Quote[edit]

Based on the history of this article, on August 22, 2007 Gerald Posner added the following sentence: "After Case Closed, everyone thinks Oswald did it" - Newsweek.

The sentence has been retained until the present (the recent form of the sentence is: "After Case Closed, everyone thinks Oswald did it," wrote Newsweek.).

An exhaustive search of Newsweek archives (in addition to searches of a full text archive of Newsweek via EBSCOhost, and a search using LexisNexis) failed to find any such quote (or even a similar quote). Such a quote was also not located in searches of databases of all U.S. newspapers.

Consequently, the sentence has been removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:49, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Information regarding suspect interviews[edit]

Given the recently published revelations (in Slate, Miami New Times, etc.) of Posner’s plagiarism and quote falsification/fabrication, it appears necessary to insert material respecting long-standing concerns about potential interview fabrications (i.e. people who Posner claimed to have interviewed who denied ever having been interviewed by him).

The added material is fully sourced, except for Posner’s rebuttal claims (his assertion regarding tapes and a phone bill). It appears that no sources that meet Wikipedia citation standards exist for Posner’s rebuttal claims, but I’ve added his rebuttal arguments to maintain fairness to Posner.

Full disclosure: I personally believe that Oswald did it, but believe that there are legitimate concerns about Posner’s reporting. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eurytemora (talkcontribs) 05:18, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Apparent violation of COI[edit]

I’m performing an undo on edits by user Miamiskull.

These edits violate Wikipedia conflict of interest policy. Miamiskull has openly posted his identity, and is the subject of this article.

From Wikipedia conflict of interest policy: “COI editing involves contributing to Wikipedia in order to promote your own interests or those of other individuals, companies, or groups.”

“the removal of reliably sourced critical material is not permitted.”

Miamiskull has removed reliably sourced critical information on alteration, fabrication, and misattribution of quotes. Specifically, the text mentioning this has been removed from the article, and the accompanying references have been removed as well. In addition, one of the references removed provides the majority of cases of plagiarism reported to date. Moreover, as the plagiarism scandal has grown, a series of increasingly implausible excuses were given, in an attempt to make the plagiarism appear inadvertent. This information has also been removed.

I’m thus performing a simple undo of the Miamiskull edits. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eurytemora (talkcontribs) 03:27, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Miamiskull continues to engage in edits that appear to violate COI policy.
User Chowbock performed on undo on the prior one (15:40, 15 April 2010), and I’m now performing an undo on the latest ones.
In addition to removing references and information, Miamiskull has inserted new false information.
Specifically, one of the sentences added reads as follows: “Posner was accused to have altered and misattributed quotes, something he adamantly denied and countered they were accurate quotes from original interviews.” The sentence cites: However, the cited article states “Posner hasn't responded to multiple calls or emails to comment on our story” (i.e. it contains no denial by Posner).
One of the fabricated quotes, along with an altered quote, was of Fiorello La Guardia. La Guardia died in 1947, before Posner was born. It’s rather difficult to see how Posner could have conducted an original interview with him. I.e. The claim that Miamiskull is adding is obviously false.
Such COI edits, inserted false information into Wikipedia, are clearly damaging to the function and reputation of Wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eurytemora (talkcontribs) 05:00, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
What's the basis for saying that MiamiSkull has a COI? I'm not seeing that in his/her contributions. I'll check the changes as to whether they're valid. At first glance I tend to agree with you that they're not positive changes. CheeseStakeholder (talk) 20:13, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Hi CheeseStakeholder,
"Miamiskull" is Posner’s current general (openly-used) online username (e.g. he uses it for his YouTube channel, has specified it on his publisher’s page, specified on the Miami Babylon facebook page he set up, etc., etc.).
The only edits performed in Wikipedia under this username are to Gerald Posner’s article, and all involve attempts to promote Posner’s career or remove critical material. Examples of the edits:
9/4/2009 Miamiskull Edit summary: "I have updated the new full time job Posner has since July 1."
Additional 9/4/2009 Miamiskull edit: "Posner's next book will be published in October 2009 from Simon and Schuster: MIAMI BABYLON: Crime, Wealth and Power - A Dispatch From the Beach.[2]"
Miamiskull 3/27/2010: "Posner promised to revert to his traditional form of gathering information and reporting for his books and articles and that the errors would not again happen."
Miamiskull 4/19/2010: "Posner claimed that some allegation of plagiarism in Miami Babylon occurred inadvertently because he had used the same system he had employed at the Daily Beast, the first time he had ever used large digital master files on any of his 11 books. Posner was accused to have altered and misattributed quotes, something he adamantly denied and countered they were accurate quotes from original interviews." – Certain of these Posner claims (e.g."first time he had ever used large digital master files on any of his 11 books", "something he adamantly denied and countered they were accurate quotes from original interviews") have never been publicly stated (in a news source or even a blog) outside of Wikipedia.
In general, several of the edits contain information that would only be known to Posner.
His previous username was Miamikid. Under this username he added the majority of the Gerald Posner article content on August 22, 2007, and included the following edit summary: "I am Gerald Posner. ANY TEXT COPIED AND PASTED FROM ANOTHER SITE IS ONLY FROM MY OWN, WWW.POSNER.COM, WHICH I WROTE! I have only added extra infor on the Wiki page"
Here’s the article following this edit:
and just before:
Much of the content entered was puffery (e.g. many laudatory quotes). Four of the laudatory media quotes he entered appear not to exist (possible fabrications). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Eurytemora (talkcontribs) 00:16, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I think you're basically correct. However, I thought that the wording of the "biography" section on the plagiarism needed to be made more neutral, which I've tried to do. I'll be leaving a note on this "Miamiskull" homepage to see if we can get him to openly express his concerns. CheeseStakeholder (talk) 13:46, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
The COI edits are apparently continuing - despite reversions and polite comments at the Miamiskull talk page (e.g. “Hello. Miamiskull. :::::I'd suggest stopping by ‘Talk:Gerald Posner’ if you have any concerns regarding the article. CheeseStakeholder (talk) 13:48, 20 April 2010”).
Essentially the same edit, removing references and information, has again been performed (with insertion, once again, of a sentence containing essentially the same language as the prior COI edits: “Posner said the Miami Babylon plagiarism occurred because of the same methodology he had used at the Daily Beast, but never had employed before on any of his previous books.”)
This time, rather than using the handle Miamiskull, the edits were performed using IP (likely because of the previous comments directed at the Miamiskull username).
Hostname Country Code Country Name Region Region Name City Postal Code Latitude Longitude ISP Organization Metro Code Area Code US United States FL Florida Miami Beach 33139 25.7829 -80.1358 SBC Internet Services SBC Internet Services 528 305
( and provide identical results) “He lives in Miami Beach with his wife, the author Trisha Posner.”
The COI edits removing critical material (references and information) have been reverted.

Arbitrary break[edit]

I left a note at User talk:Miamiskull about COI. I suggested he raise any concerns at this talk page or at Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard. Maurreen (talk) 18:17, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

More regarding any of my changes so there is complete transparency as to why I added any recent information to the article itself, as opposed to just making comments or providing info here in talk.

(1) The last two sentences of the first paragraph under "Writings: Case Closed" deal with the book being optioned for a miniseries. Before, it had it in the present tense, as if the book was still to be made into a movie. But the correction is to note that David Wolper had optioned it, and then expressed in his memoir that the failure to develop Case Closed into a film was one of his two career disappointments. Considering it is David Wolper, who successfully 'produced' an Olympics, and shows such as Roots, it seems a relevant piece of information. And it is more accurate than what had been there. The citation is to the electronic page of Wolper's book where he makes the statement about Case Closed.

The first sentence of the third paragraph under "Writings: Case Closed" - The lead off to this paragraph had been what is now the second sentence. I believe that it is fair to balance the "widespread criticism from assassination researchers" with "widespread critical acclaim from the mainstream media." The citation I provided in support of this includes 18 source citations. I am sure I could get more, but think this is adequate. Also, I very specifically chose the words "mainstream media."

(3) In "External Links" I added in Posner's Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin account. People who are researching him can also find him or info on him at those web locations. I added in, as well, links to articles collected by him as collected by The Huffington Post and the Daily Beast. And finally, I deleted the Gerald Posner, Weathervane - it is a current 2012 page, Houston = item not found, The Right Perspective podcast blog = doesn't exist.

I will continue to try and add to citations needed in the biographical section, as I have added a couple. But it takes time to find them, so it might be a tad slow.

I hope this helpful in providing the transparent information so anyone who comes to this talk section will agree that my edits are those with which a neutral editor would agree with.--Trishawiki (talk) 14:47, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

New charges[edit]

There are new charges in the Miami New Times, at What is the state of play on using the Miami New Times as a source? I don't like the tone of their reporting. I looked through the guidelines on living persons, and I'm worried that their work may not fit the guidelines. What do people think? If people are associated with or against Posner I'd like them to say so in stating their opinions.

Posner also hired Mark Lane as his lawyer, which is strange as Lane is a Kennedy conspiracy theorist. The new charges are grave, and then ther is the Lane stuff, which was also reported in the New York Post. He is thratening to sue the New Times. The NT article also this article in Wikipedia. This is all inflammatory stuff, and we need to handle this appropriately, applying all rules fairly. CheeseStakeholder (talk) 17:10, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

I think it would be a bad idea to not mention it. We should just make sure that article makes it clear who is making the allegations; that is, "The Miami New Times says X", not just "X". We should also include Posner's response, when he makes one.—Chowbok 19:06, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Although Miami New Times might have an inflammatory tone, I'm not aware of it being sloppy with facts, and it seems like the publication had done its homework on this. I think the pertinent information should be included.
As an aside, I think the bio intro should at least mention his involvement in plagiarism. (I apparently forgot to sign this earlier. I wrote that at 05:34, 21 May 2010. -- Maurreen (talk) 05:44, 24 May 2010 (UTC))
The Miami New Times fits completely within the reliable source guidelines. Furthermore, the plagiarism info in the recent New Times articles is both directly self-verifying (i.e. all the examples are posted) and was verified as clearcut extensive plagiarism by Poynter Institute senior scholar Roy Peter Clark (i.e. this constitutes a much higher standard of evidence than many news articles, which rely on a reporter correctly conveying verbal info from a source). In addition, almost all articles I’ve seen about other journalism scandals (by other authors – e.g. Jayson Blair, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Stephen Ambrose, Stephen Glass, etc.) use similar condemnatory language (since plagiarism and falsification of quotes constitute such core violations of journalistic ethics).
Posner, via Lane, is threatening to sue not because of any inaccuracies in the New Times stories, but rather, on grounds of "tortuous interference" (i.e. that the reporting of the plagiarism interferes with Posner’s business relationship with his publishers). News reports that I’ve seen (including commentary by other lawyers) state that there seems to be little valid ground for a suit here.
I think it’s perfectly possible to write the info up in an accurate and fair way. Also, as I noted before, though there is involvement on my part, I’ve not personally been wronged by Posner, and I think I’m capable of being fair in edits (e.g. my language in prior Posner article edits has not been inflammatory or strongly non-NPOV, and I’ve sought to be accurate). I have nothing against Posner personally, but feel that his journalistic transgressions are quite problematic.
As an aside – all other Wikipedia articles about authors involved in similar circumstances have a subheading – typically something like "Plagiarism Scandal". I’ve thought quite a bit about an appropriate and fair subheading in this case. I’m strongly inclined toward "Plagiarism and Quote Falsification". I’m inclined against including the word "Scandal" given its pejorative connotations (i.e. to try to maintain NPOV). I’m also inclined against including a word such as "Allegations", since the cases of plagiarism are so extensive and clear cut, and since Posner has acknowledged plagiarism (though claiming it was inadvertent).
Another aside – CheeseStakeHolder deleted a sentence that an editor had added (saying something about Posner being fired) in the lead. I basically agree with CheeseStakeHolder’s edit – that the language was problematic (I’d been thinking of deleting it myself, before seeing that CheeseStakeHolder had done so). But on the factual point that CheeseStakeHolder had raised ("resigned not fired") – the truth here becomes a bit less clear. News reports appear to have used the word "resigned" because that’s how Posner characterized it on his blog (Posner: "I instantly offered my resignation and Edward accepted. What was clear was that the excellent reputation established by The Daily Beast in the last year should not be tarnished by any controversy swirling around me."). The account later given by the Daily Beast differs in tone: "'Since last Friday, when Slate's Jack Shafer reported several instances of plagiarism in one of Gerald Posner's articles, we began a review of all of Gerald's work,' said Kirk in an e-mail to The Miami Herald. 'The review is still underway, but we have found additional examples of unattributed material that violate the journalistic standards of The Daily Beast,' Kirk wrote. 'As a result, The Daily Beast has ended its relationship with Gerald and will be correcting his articles.'" Also, from the Daily Beast executive editor Edward Felsenthal: "We hold ourselves to the highest journalistic standards which is why we expeditiously parted company with Gerald Posner". So the accounts given by Daily Beast representatives seem to imply that the employer was the party taking the action (though again, I do not favor use of the term "fired" in the article).

07:41, 21 May 2010 (UTC)Eurytemora (talk)

I generally agree with you on the substance of what you're saying, but I'm uncomfortable about somebody directly involved editing this article. I think it would be greatly helpful if you could explain your involvement. I do agree that this needs to be included, but I'm concerned about it overwhelming the article. The Miami New Times is part of Village Voice media and seems to be reliable. I don't care for the tone of the articles and that tends to increase my concern about using it. We need to add these new allegations and also his hiring Lane, and perhaps in a separate section too. But it needs to be proportionate. CheeseStakeholder (talk) 13:40, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
As I've noted previously in comments, I discovered some of the journalistic transgressions. I receive no benefit from edits of the Posner Wikipedia article (though there is a downside, since editing takes time that I don't have). I'm also not a journalist who authored any of the news articles (who could potentially be said to derive indirect benefit). I've also not been personally wronged by Posner, have had no personal contact with Posner, etc. In general, folks who perform edits are not "blank slates" with no prior history regarding a topic. E.g. You've commented about having a favorable opinion after having read Case Closed - So not a completely neutral "blank slate". But it seems to me that you make some attempt to be fair/accurate, and the same is true of me. Eurytemora (talk) 00:24, 22 May 2010 (UTC)


Posner was also found to have altered, fabricated, and misattributed quotes[3]

This information should have been removed sooner. Tim Elfrink describes "what look like" and "apparent instances" of plagiarism. If an editor wishes to restore the source, please provide attribution for quotations. Wikispan (talk) 18:09, 21 May 2010 (UTC)

I agree, and I'm not comfortable with using a blog in support of those charges. I agree that they seem documented, but is that proper sourcing? I've also taken out a "forced resignation" that I hadn't noticed, supported by a dead link. I changed the "discovery of plagiarism" to a more balanced "allegation" as he seems to be denying it. If he's admitted it then we can use stronger language. CheeseStakeholder (talk) 18:56, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
1. Blogs by journalists that are subjected to full editorial control by the newspaper (e.g. Miami New Times) are considered reliable sources in Wikipedia (look at the "reliable sources" policy). They are basically newspaper articles - e.g. providing a means for the paper to publish longer items that can't be included in a print version (as is the case here). Self-published blogs are not classified as reliable sources, but that is not true of newspaper "blogs" with full editorial oversight.
2. Multiple instances of altered, fabricated, and misattributed quotes are specified in the cited article (the full text of the examples starts on page 6 of the article).
One of the altered quotes and a misattributed quote are also specified in the shorter newsprint version of the article.
Indeed, a previous version of the Posner Wikipedia article included a statement about quote tampering, but cited a self-published blog. Though this was removed (since the source was self-published), the resolution was that such information would be reinserted upon publication by regular media (which has now happened).
3. Posner admitted the plagiarism (e.g. see the initial references regarding Daily Beast), though he claimed it was inadvertent.
4. As I explained above on the talk page, the accounts given by Daily Beast representatives are essentially of a forced resignation(basically, it appears that he was fired, though Posner in his own blog calls it a resignation). As reporter Jack Shafer (who exposed the initial plagiarism and was directly communicating with the Daily Beast editors) said at the time: "Yesterday, Feb. 10,the Daily Beast dismissed its chief investigative reporter, Gerald Posner, for lifting the work of other journalists."
E.g. see the following refs for more details Eurytemora (talk) 00:15, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
See BLPSPS for policy. My problem is not with the source but rather the manner in which this latest allegation is reported. The writer is careful not to describe them as out-and-out examples of altered, fabricated, and misattributed quotes; instead using words like "what look like" and "apparent instances". It is important to get this aspect correct. Such certainty ("Posner was also found") is premature when legal action is now underway. For the record, I don't know who killed John F. Kennedy. However, I once had a very interesting conversation with Sergei N. Khrushchev about the topic of spaceflight and JFK's death that I'm sure assassination researchers would find interesting. Wikispan (talk) 11:36, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Hi Wikispan,
1. It seems that you’ve performed a very large deletion of apparently well-sources article additions by another editor. Statements by a Pointer Institute senior scholar (identifying Posner’s acts as unambiguous plagiarism), a statement by Ponser, and many sources have all been deleted. I think this is a non-optimal course of action and have reverted. If you have differences of opinion with some of the material, I think it would be better to talk it through on the talk page. Also, for the one explicit comment that you’ve make about this material – regarding the quotes sentence – I’ve tried to address your concerns – see below.
2. There is a subheading in the article labeled “Altered Quotes”. Furthermore, if you look at each of the quotes (and compare them to the source that Posner cites for each one), they are clearly altered.
One such example - Posner quotes LaGuardia as saying: "There were more prohibition lawbreakers in Florida than any other state." When LaGuardia actually said: "There are more prohibition lawbreakers in Florida than in my state."
Posner also quotes LaGuardia as saying that Miami was: "leakiest spot in the nation." LaGuardia never said that (or even something similar to it). By definition, that is fabrication of a (juicy) quote.
Another example – Posner quotes Michael Zeldin as saying: "A major part of the problem was that there were so many professionals and public officials who benefited from the drug trade and simply did not see themselves as part of the problem. They were blinded by all the money."
The closest thing to this that Zeldin actually says in the article that Posner cites as the source of the quote is: “And I think that there are a lot of people who are privileged who are benefiting from the narcotics trade in small ways or in large ways, who don't see themselves as the problem, but rather see the peddlers of the drugs as the problem, and if they could only get rid of those guys, then we'd have no other problem. I think they're blind.”
An example of misattribution – Posner: "I always said this was a battle for territory," says Tony Goldman. "As the good people push out the undesirables, the whole area comes back to life."
But in the source that Posner specifies, the actual quote is: "I see this as a battle for territory," said Pieter Bakker, who is restoring the Fairmont Hotel and an adjacent apartment building on Collins Avenue. "As the good people push out the undesirables, the whole area will come back."
The speaker is Pieter Bakker, not Tony Goldman. This is by definition misattribution.
One possible solution – perhaps agreeable to you, is a slight rewrite of the sentence. Here’s my suggestion: “Posner’s writing was also found to contain what appeared to be altered, fabricated, and misattributed quotes.”
And for a section subheading: “Plagiarism and apparent quote falsification”.
Though I’m reverting, I’ll make these alterations immediately thereafter to try to meet your concerns.
3. Incidentally, legal action is not currently underway. It has merely been threatened (actually, the timing suggests that this may have an attempt to get the New Times to not publish its latest article about plagiarism in the two additional books). And the grounds claimed are not inaccuracy in reporting, defamation, etc. – they are tortuous interference and emotional damages.Eurytemora (talk) 13:16, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia policy is unambiguous: "Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced—whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion." (WP:BLP) You should not have restored the disputed material until agreement was first reached on the talk page.
The following sentence is slightly awkward and lacks attribution: "Posner's writing was also found to contain what appeared to be altered, fabricated, and misattributed quotes". News of possible legal proceedings should not be sourced principally to one of the involved parties (namely, Miami New Times). It is best practice to find a reliable third-party published source for this information. Nor is SOUTHFLORISALAWYERS.BLOGSPOT.COM a reliable source. [4] You should correct these problems immediately or self-revert. Wikispan (talk) 14:20, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
I’ve looked up SOUTHFLORISALAWYERS.BLOGSPOT.COM ref. I agree that it does not meet reliable source criteria for a BLP. However, the rest of the material in the editor’s addition appears well sourced and the quote sentence is well sourced (the critical words here in WP:BLP are “that is unsourced or poorly sourced”). For the info regarding potential litigation, it appears that refs for both Miami New Times and the Posner press release were included in the edit – i.e. the statements of both parties. Personally, I think that’s appropriate, but an additional ref, by an uninvolved party, could be added.Eurytemora (talk) 23:18, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Failure to include this information, including the quote falsification, seems to clearly run afoul of WP:BLP directives such as the following: “If an allegation or incident is notable, relevant, and well-documented, it belongs in the article—even if it is negative and the subject dislikes all mention of it.” Also see – “Example: A politician is alleged to have had an affair. He denies it, but The New York Times publishes the allegations, and there is a public scandal. The allegation belongs in the biography, citing the New York Times as the source.”Eurytemora (talk) 08:35, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Wikispan. We need to apply proper safeguards. I have an additional concern relating to the amount of space given to the plagiarism. The policy on point of view states: "An article should not give undue weight to any aspects of the subject but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight appropriate to its significance to the subject." We give too much space to the plagiarism. It definitely happened, and we don't want to whitewash it, but given his record I am concerned about the space devoted to this chapter of his life. CheeseStakeholder (talk) 16:54, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
I've returned the article to the Wikispan version pending discussion.CheeseStakeholder (talk) 17:10, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
How the journalistic transgressions are currently treated in the Posner article appears to be in complete disparity with all analogous BLPs on Wikipedia. Basically, this certainly looks like favoritism toward Posner.
I looked up Wikipedia BLP’s that constituted analogous cases – where the author had been involved in a journalism scandal, and used MS Word to do a count of words in the article devoted to the scandal versus total words in the article (specifically, I used the text in the main body of the article).
Doris Kearns Goodwin 402/1075 =37% of the article
Stephen Ambrose 612/1586 =38.6% of the article
Stephen Glass 937/1502 =62.4% of the article
Jayson Blair 872/1149 = 75.9% of the article
Mike Barnicle 226/612 = 36.9% of the article
Contrast all of these with:
Currently – Gerald Posner 175/1300 = 13.5% of the article
Prior version (including edits by and my modifications to address Wikispan’s concerns) 339/1453=23.3%
In addition, much of the content of this article has been written by Gerald Posner himself (he explicitly claims authorship in edit summaries in 2007). This appears to be a clear violation of COI. Article length prior to Posner’s 2007 additions = 444 words. After his additions = 1087 words. Almost all of that content (much of it self-promoting or self-flattering) remains verbatim in the article. Given the current article length, that means that Gerald Posner wrote about 49.4% of the current Wikipedia article! There’s clearly something very wrong with that. Arguably, it would be entirely proper to remove all of that COI material.
Another objective metric for “significance to the subject”, albeit quite imperfect, is number of Google hits. Look at the count for “Gerald Posner” versus the count for “Gerald Posner”+”plagiarism”.
Posner is clearly, in effect, receiving preferential treatment. Many of the other authors (involved in journalism scandals) that I list above have also been very prolific, several with long careers. And in some of those cases, the extent of the transgressions was clearly less than that of Posner. Why should he be treated differently?Eurytemora (talk) 23:18, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
If you're not happy, consider posting a note to the BLP Noticeboard. Explain the situation briefly before asking for advice (r.e. COI, references, weight, etc). Wikispan (talk) 11:31, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
Yep, I'm aware of the BLP Noticeboard, and various dispute resolution mechanisms. I'd like to try to hash out a consensus here, if that is possible (then try BLP Noticeboard or some other mechanism if things seem stuck). It seems like it should be possible if we all operate in good faith and try to remain open to what is true in what others are saying.Eurytemora (talk) 13:12, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
The Goodwin, Ambrose and possibly Barnicle articles all give undue attention to their subjects controversies. Those are not role models that should be followed. I concur about requesting additional input and I've done that myself previously. CheeseStakeholder (talk) 14:28, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
About weight and whether it is due or undue -- Glass, Barnicle and Blair seem most known because of plagiarism (well, Blair for a whole mess of problems and what followed them). So I see no problem, for instance, if their articles are at least half about the plagiarism.
The others, including Posner, seem less widely known in general, and they have more books to their names, so it is harder for me to judge. But for all of them, it is appropriate to at least mention the scandal in the intro.
And to my limited knowledge, Posner, Ambrose and Goodwin's scandals came relatively late in their careers. This tends overshadow and call into question earlier work. That's the way it is, not something WP needs to overcome.
On a different topic, about Posner apparently writing this article himself ... that's not good. One option, just food for thought, would be to start from scratch. Maurreen (talk) 06:14, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Conflict-of-interest note, etc.[edit]

I acknowledge that I haven't been keeping up with this. The last time I read any of the talk or article was early on 21 May.

But my view is that anyone with direct involvement with Gerald Posner or anything covered by the article should not edit the article. Avoiding even an appearance of such a conflict of interest is consistent with editorial ethics.

I encourage anyone to use this talk page or relevant noticeboards, etc. Maurreen (talk) 05:44, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

I'll go with your recommendation on this (I hope you don't mind me saying - I'd solicited your input on this question offline, feeling that I needed more clarity, and the points you've written me make sense).Eurytemora (talk) 08:02, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I appreciate that and also I appreciate your disclosing that (I missed it originally). This article is only mildly unbalanced compared to the Ambrose article, which is horrid. I appreciate your bringing that to my attention! I had to put an NPOV tag on that, which I haven't had to do with this one. There definitely seems to be a tendency to overemphasize recent developments in this kind of article, and sometimes a tendency to be sensational that I think we have to guard against. CheeseStakeholder (talk) 14:19, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
I need to take a closer look at the Ambrose article before I can legitimately say anything about it (I'd only looked it up as an analogous case and did a word count – I need to read it and its references).
I have to say that I agree with other two points that Muarreen makes. I’ll write the following in (for me) ascending importance (most important point last).
1. It is appropriate to mention the scandal in the Intro. Editor inserted a sentence doing that and you entirely removed it (rather than trying to meet them halfway). I semi-supported you on this, but only because I had a problem with the wording. It stated that Posner had been “fired” and, even though I think that in essence that is correct, he himself claimed that he had resigned (however, he would be motivated to give a favorable account that wasn’t necessarily accurate). The Shafer article uses the word “dismissed” (where Shafer was in communication with the Daily Beast editors) and that is consistent with public statements by Daily Beast spokespeople. So on grounds of fairness to Posner and professionalism, I had a problem with “fired”, but think an analogous (but professionally worded) sentence does belong in the intro/lead.
2. Maurreen makes the point that such a scandal late in an author’s career “tends overshadow and call into question earlier work. That's the way it is, not something WP needs to overcome.” I think she’s right on that.
a) At this point, there is evidence of extensive plagiarism both at the Daily Beast, and in every book of Posner’s that has been examined for it. As Frank Owen (one of the authors he plagiarized) strongly points out – plagiarism is theft. A writer gets paid for his or her writing. That’s the product they produce – their intellectual property. Writing well is hard – it takes much effort, time, skill, and training (and the content often involves a lot of investigative work). Taking this and using it under your own name, without attribution, is theft. It’s not a victimless crime. And the discoveries of extensive plagiarism late in Posner’s career indicates that much of his writing may consist of such theft. That’s something that was previously unknown, and alters how we view the writing that Posner has previously published.
b) Certain recent discoveries call into question Posner’s reliability as a reporter. In investigative reporting, reliability (validity of the factual information provided by the reporter) is paramount (since the validity of all conclusions rests on that factual foundation). Over the course of his career, numerous people that Posner quoted have stated that either 1. They were never interviewed by Posner, or 2. They were badly misquoted. The recent discoveries of altered and made-up quotes, and quotes put in altered context (e.g. uttered by one person but attributed to a different person) give credence to those earlier complaints. And the recent evidence is essentially irrefutable – Posner cites a textual source for each of them, and there is no question that there are alterations in Posner’s publication relative to the source.
With the previous misquoting complaints people made – hard evidence (e.g. an audiotape) was lacking. If the quotes cast someone in a negative light, their complaints about quotes were dismissed as sour grapes (e.g. Michael Capponi is a recent example). Even if not, they were essentially labeled as lying (given Posner’s fame and lauding). There has been very real harm to these people’s reputations. Again, it’s not victimless. And to suppress the recent evidence perpetuates that victimization. It’s unfair to them.
Moreover, if a reporter is willing to make things up, what of their writing can one believe? That’s an open question. If there’s evidence of some sort of fabrication, it’s impossible to say where that ends, and once it is discovered, it calls into question all that they’ve previously written.
So, to reiterate, I agree with the basic point that Maurreen makes here.Eurytemora (talk) 23:23, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
A succinct version of the entry above:
1. WP:LEAD “The lead should be able to stand alone as a concise overview of the article. It should define the topic, establish context, explain why the subject is interesting or notable, and summarize the most important points—including any notable controversies.”
2. WP:BLP “If an allegation or incident is notable, relevant, and well-documented, it belongs in the article—even if it is negative and the subject dislikes all mention of it.”
Eurytemora (talk) 20:47, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

Arbitrary Break[edit]

Here’s a suggested alternative for the sentence in dispute: The Miami New Times also found that Posner “seems to add, subtract, or misattribute quotes” and displayed a series of such “apparently altered or misattributed quotes”[5][6]. For all the examples shown, Posner cited a source article, where an examination of the source showed that the quote given in Posner’s writing was either substantially altered (e.g. words added), never said by the subject, misattributed, or used out of context.

Almost all the language in this alternative comes directly from the referenced articles (this should satisfy even the most stringent “attribution” requirement). The first sentence consists mainly of quotes from the referenced articles, and the second is largely composed of the precise words used in the articles (which refer to “altered quotes”, words “added”, quotes that the person “never says”, quotes that are “misattributed”, and quotes that are “used out of context”). It’s slightly longer and less elegant than the original version, but that’s unavoidable given the request for “attribution” and the need to accurately mirror the information in the referenced articles. Eurytemora (talk) 21:38, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

If updated info is added about the journalism scandal, perhaps its impact could be downweighted by shifting this material from the Biography to the end of the article (recognizing CheeseStakeHolder’s preferences). Eurytemora (talk) 11:25, 28 May 2010 (UTC)
Meanwhile we need to be exercise care to source all controversial and negative statements. The lead says that he is the subject of a "scandal." That's a loaded word to put in the lea. I think "controversy" is more neutral. I'm also concerned about a statement in the "Case Closed" subsection that is equally not sourced. I'm going to change the lead and add an appropriate tag to the Case Closed section. The situation here is not unique to Wikipedia. I looked over in the HElen Thomas entry and, as I expected, now a overly large amount of that article is devoted to her recent troubles. There seems to be a systemic bias in Wikipedia against the media, which emerges in biography articles. I'm not saying we don't write about the troubles these people have. Of course we do. But we need to keep it in proportion. In the case of Thomas, she had a sixty year career, albeit one definitely marred by her recent comments. Now there's a discussion there about whether to label her as an "antisemite." Wikipedia tends to go overboard too much, and to take a sensationalistic approach in dealing with the media. CheeseStakeholder (talk) 14:55, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Arg! Please avoid kneejerk edits based on instinct (e.g. to protect Posner) without careful review of the actual data. 1. Posner has acknowledged the plagiarism (though calling it inadvertent). And his employer - the Daily Beast - stated that it was definitively plagiarism. So it's not just an allegation. And labeling it as such is actually inaccurate. 2. It appears that essentially everyone in the world acknowledges that this is a "journalism scandal" (and it is labeled as such in most "reliable sources"). 3. This is not an analogous case to Helen Thomas. With Posner there's a long history of problems. And the problems include the cardinal sins of journalism. That's entirely different than a single insensitive politically-loaded remark. Moreover, I looked at the Helen Thomas page yesterday, and the general consensus in discussion was that the "antisemite" label should not be used. Eurytemora (talk) 15:38, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
If anyone wants to insert them, I dug up references for three of the things tagged as needing citation. For the NY Times quote in Biography [7] and for the LA Times quote in Biography [8]. Also, for the Garry Wills quote in Biography – seems to not be available online, but proper reference via Newsbank is: Perot's troubling anti-Semitic ties. Chicago Sun-Times. August 19, 1996. Author:Garry Wills Eurytemora (talk) 11:05, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Inaccuracies in text that Gerald Posner added to this article[edit]

The text that Gerald Posner added to this article on August 31, 2007 [9] appears to contain some major inaccuracies. I was just looking at a sentence Posner added to the Why America Slept section:

“Prince Ahmed, two other Saudi princes named by Posner, and the chief of the Pakistani Air Force, all died within days of each other, either from a blood clot after a simple operation, a car wreck involving only one vehicle, dehydration in the desert, or a sabotaged helicopter explosion.”

This text has remained in the article since his addition (a couple spelling errors have been corrected, but no wording modifications have been made). Posner is essentially trying to claim that all these men were actually assassinated in a conspiracy.

Posner states that the four men “all died within days of each other”. Prince Ahmed (Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud) died on July 22, 2002. The “chief of the Pakistani Air Force” that Posner is referring to is Mushaf Ali Mir, who died on February 20, 2003. So these men did not die “within days of each other” (i.e. Posner’s description here is a frank inaccuracy). Also, Mushaf Ali Mir died in a crash of a Fokker F27. This is a turboprop airplane, not a helicopter. The plane hit a mountain (3000 foot elevation) obscured by dense clouds (as confirmed by numerous local witnesses in news accounts), near Kohat, Pakistan. An inquiry by the Pakistani Air Force found the crash to have been caused by a combination of pilot error (beginning descent too soon, given the low cloudbank) and poor visibility (both fog and dense clouds are mentioned). Sabotage was specifically excluded as a cause. Here’s the Aviation Safety Network description[10]. So calling it a “sabotaged helicopter explosion” is a frank inaccuracy. Also, the operation that Prince Ahmed underwent was apparently surgery for diverticulitis – this surgery is known to be associated with high mortality and morbidity (i.e. severe complications). E.g. journal articles cite numbers as high as 16.7% mortality and 71% morbidity in surgery for acute diverticulitis (numbers are better, though still rather high in elective surgical cases). So calling it “a simple operation” is rather misleading.

Hopefully, at some point, this section of the article will be fully researched and corrected. Eurytemora (talk) 07:57, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

I'll tag the specific passage you cite. Can you provide sourcing for your statements? CheeseStakeholder (talk) 15:28, 12 June 2010 (UTC)


This edit is pretty funny.—Chowbok 00:03, 3 February 2012 (UTC)


I have removed the following:

However, the veracity of elements of his testimony has been questioned. In particular, certain individuals that Posner claimed to have interviewed (James Tague, a witness lightly wounded in the assassination, and J. Thorton Boswell, one of the autopsy pathologists) said that they had never spoken to Posner,[12] and both autopsy pathologists denied positions that Posner attributed to them.[13][14][15] Posner responded that he had tapes of himself interviewing Tague and Boswell. Posner also cited his phone bill as evidence of the conversations. However, he made the bill available on only a restricted basis, and discrepancies in the bill have resulted in questions about its validity.

Per WP:WEIGHT, a single letter to the editor is not enough to support the contention that the veracity of his testimony is in question. Per WP:SYNTH, it is not acceptable to cherry-pick then string together primary source material in the above manner. This is a BLP, so secondary source coverage is required for these types of claims. Location (talk) 00:50, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Good riddance. Looks like the conspiracy folks have been chipping away at it. I've seen a picture of the phone bill on the internet, that last sentence is complete nonsense. Gamaliel (talk) 01:09, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

too hot to mention?[edit]

i don't see any mention of "bio-assassins" in the posner wikipedia article, apart from the name of the book. is it because "bio-assassins" is too hot to handle, too provocative even to mention? the book is about biological terrorism. there have been rumors that "bio-assassins" includes information about actual events and that gerald posner had acquired classified information from the cia which he "leaked" in this book. in light of the anthrax scare and other events, are there people who want any knowledge of this book swept under the rug? (the plot of "bio-assassins" makes the cia look very, very bad. if it IS based on actual events, knowledge of some scandalous doings has been kept from the american public.)````

Thank you for your suggestion. When you believe an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the edit this page link at the top.
The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. You don't even need to log in (although there are many reasons why you might want to). Gamaliel (talk)

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