Talk:Karl E. Mundt

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Holocaust[edit]

User:Sillyfolkboy and some anonymous users have been adding a new section containing statements that say "Mundt was an important figure in the obstruction of efforts to try stop the extermination of European Jewry during the Second World War," asserting (in part) that he "brought down an attempt in November 1943 to introduce legislation to 'to save the surviving people of Europe from execution at the hands of Nazi Germany'. I have reverted these additions due to the lack of sourcing for most of what is said and the undue emphasis on a minor item in Mundt's career.

This addition is based on a single short statement in a very recent Jerusalem Post review of a recent book (The Jewish hush-hush policy) and an equally brief comment (in which Mundt's name is misspelled) in another book (Hitler, the Allies and the Jews by Shlomo Aronson) that syas essentially the same thing as the book review. The paragraph that has been added to the article contains a great deal more information than either of these cited sources, suggesting that there has been a bit of synthesis and other original research by the contributors. As near as I can determine, Mundt gave a speech once objecting to some aspects of a proposal to address Nazi genocide. Whatever the truth of the matter, it's clear that this was a minor footnote in the the long career of a political figure who can be legitimately criticized for many of his actions. In what is a very article about his life and career, it seems like significantly undue weight to add a major new article section criticizing him about something he apparently said once in a speech.

Let's keep this article in balance. --Orlady (talk) 04:05, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

I am sorry to have just edited anonymously. I am the person who just reverted User: Orlady's deletion of the reference to the Holocaust. I had not previously done any editing. After reading the article in the Jerusalem Post I googled Mundt and came across some disturbing aspects of American politics of which Mundt is a good example. If the addition needed editing in order to suppress synthesis or original research, then so be it. However, deleting the entire addition seems excessive. Orlady's argument is that "it seems like significantly undue weight to add a major new article section criticizing him about something he apparently said once in a speech". However, this position is untenable when one considers the fact that specifically that one speech may have been responsible for a month of inaction at a time when thousands of people were being murdered each day. On the other hand, some times, one speech is what some very memorable (and sometimes very notorious) people are remembered for(i.e. "I have dream"). Finally, the deleted edit also helped readers understand more of Mundt's ideology and vision and related these positions to the context of American politics at the time. I strongly believe the edit should stay, even if modified to comply to quality standards. Yours: J.O. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 189.146.87.122 (talkcontribs) 06:12, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
You say you have never edited before, but the similarity in the IPs used by the various anonymous contributors to this article suggests otherwise.
One of the core policies of Wikipedia is that articles should always be written from a neutral point of view. This includes maintaining balance in coverage -- avoiding giving undue weight to specific viewpoints and information. This is a fairly short article that does not delve into the subject in very much detail. The material you added criticizing Mundt in connection with the Holocaust was almost half the length of the article's entire discussion of this man's 35-year career in the U.S. Congress. That's not appropriate balance, unless this had been his single most important act as a Congressman, and there is overwhelming evidence that is was not. Indeed, when I Google the combinations of "Mundt" or "Karl Mundt" and "Holocaust", almost all of the top search results are completely irrelevant to this topic (that is, most of what I get are items about Karl Mundt's role in the Cold War, suppression of free speech, and other issues; items about World War II-era Germans named "Mundt"; history curriculum-topic lists that include both "Holocaust" and "Karl Mundt" as topics; and comments about the Coen Brothers movie "Barton Fink", which included a villainous character named Karl Mundt). The exceptions are a few webpages -- all created in just the last few days -- that contain the same short sentences that are cited as the basis for the paragraph that you have been adding. There is plenty that Karl Mundt can be criticized for, but if the single most reprehensible thing that he ever did was related to the Holocaust, I would think that there would have been a bit more attention to it. Making it the main focus of this article would be an extreme case of undue emphasis.
Further, another core policy is that Wikipedia should not include original research. Original research includes novel, unpublished syntheses of previously published material. The paragraph in question is original research in that it takes a tiny piece of published information and elaborates it into something far larger. Specifically, the published sources indicate that:
  • A Congressional resolution urging the creation of a commission "to formulate and execute a plan of immediate action designed to save the surviving people of Europe from execution at the hands of Nazi Germany" failed to pass "after Karl Mundt of South Dakota expressed doubts as to whether a precedent could be established for 'a single people,'" but a similar resolution was passed unanimously in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee one month later.
  • Mundt (name misspelled and identified as being from the wrong state) was a "restrictionist senator" who was "frightened" by incorrect information about the number of immigration visas granted to European Jews.
In your paragraph, these two shreds of information have been expanded to become:
  • Mundt was an important figure in the obstruction of efforts to try stop the extermination of European Jewry during the Second World War. -- This is pure original research. As far as I can tell, the Wikipedia article is the very first place where this statement was ever published.
  • Mundt shared the position of Breckenridge Long, who worked vehemently to curb Jewish immigration to the U.S., that the Jews were a particular case that needed no special attention within the greater scheme of war against Germany. -- One of the sources does mention Long and Mundt in the same paragraph and it is apparent from the context that both supported restrictions on immigration, but the "shared position" is pure original research.
  • In fact, it was Mundt who brought down an attempt in November 1943 to introduce legislation to "to save the surviving people of Europe from execution at the hands of Nazi Germany" by stating reservations about establishing a precedent "for a single people". -- It's a great leap to go from saying a resolution "failed to pass after Mundt expressed doubts" to saying he singlehandedly "brought down an attempt" to introduce legislation to "save the surviving people of Europe from execution." (Note that the resolution he opposed likely was fairly toothless -- history records that in 1943 the U.S. was in a full-scale war against Nazi Germany, so it's not obvious that a Congressional commission would have been able to add much to the war effort.)
The last sentence of the paragraph is sourced (with a nonworking malformed link) to another Wikipedia article, but Wikipedia can't cite itself. Anyway, the statement "While similar legislation was passed a month later, critics claim that any attempt to delay the immediate end of genocide was inexcusable at a time when the murder rate was approaching 8,000 people a day" is more opinion than fact.
Bottom line: Your paragraph is non-neutral POV and original research. Both are inconsistent with Wikipedia policy. A statement about Mundt's role in delaying a U.S. response to the ongoing genocide in 1943 might have a place in the article, but if it is added it should be in the context of a significant expansion of the article's treatment of Mundt and his politics (which were strongly anti-Communist and anti-immigration, among other things). That expansion, by the way, would need to be reliably sourced. --Orlady (talk) 15:09, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Karl E. Mundt/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Could use section headings and a bibliography list. Badbilltucker 17:34, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Last edited at 21:07, 2 April 2013 (UTC). Substituted at 20:54, 29 April 2016 (UTC)