Talk:Moynihan Commission on Government Secrecy

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I found this article through looking through the VENONA article. I have a couple of major issues here. The first issue is that this article is about the Moynihan committee and yet I see no listing of members, no talk of the process they used. Instead, this seems to be an essay about VENONA and it's impact. That's fine, but I don't think it belongs here in this form. There is already a full article on VENONA and another one on the significance of VENONA. Also, the article reads as if the committee was entirely about VENONA, which it was not. Anyway, I'm going to add information on some of the other areas they touched on. --Woohookitty(cat scratches) 12:48, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Much of this language is the direct language of the Commission report, for example, the subheading "Cold War" secrecy, which is not limited to Venona materials. Also the phrase, "with considerable assistance from an enemy within" is exactly the language of the Commission Report, and is extremely relevent to the subject. nobs 18:14, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
I understand what you are saying. However, we should be paraphrasing when we can. And it's ok to change headings from what the report says. Wikisource is for source material. Wikipedia is more for discussing the source material. Also, the commission report is from a particular point of view. We have a duty to shape it into NPOV if possible. If not, then we need to use them as direct quotes. I don't see quotation marks being used when the commission report is being quoted. If they aren't being used, then it sounds like you are being authoritative in which case we need to couch the language into NPOV as much as we can. --Woohookitty(cat scratches) 18:26, 30 October 2005 (UTC)


I'm going to revert the revert you (or an anon) just did. It's not weasel words. You can *not* quote from a report like this and not use quotation marks or show some indication that these words are not your own but are instead, from the report. The problem is that when you write for something like Wikipedia and you don't clearly point out that the words you are using are directly from another source, then the reader assumes that you are being authoritative. That means that you are saying that what you are saying is the unassailable truth. And putting a note or a link to the source next to the text does not take care of that. Look at this...

"Truman had never been told of the existence of the Venona project, and always insisted Republicans had trumped up the loyalty issue. The first fact is, that a significant Communist conspiracy was in place in Washington, New York, and Hollywood. President Truman was almost willfully obtuse as regards American Communism.3 There were no Communists in Kansas City politics where he came from. Apart from intellectual circles in Manhattan, a few metropolitan centers elsewhere, and the labor movement, Communists were unknown. Truman has been criticized for putting domestic politics above American security."

There are many problems with this section. For one thing, I see no quotation marks. So it sounds like that Wikipedia is saying these things. Also, the paragraph is very POV. It's obvious that the article is taking the point of view that Truman willfully ignored the obvious so he could meet his own goals and needs. It should say "the commission said" or "the commission reported". And those aren't "weasel words". It's saying exactly where the words are from. Instead, it sounds like it's accepted fact that Truman was willfully obtuse. Did the commission say this? Yes. But then you need to say that the commission said it instead of making it sound like this is an unassailable fact. It's like with the "no Communists in Kansas City" comment. Again, where is it from? If it's from the report, it needs to say so. Otherwise, it sounds like a snide comment.

the main problem I have with how this article is written is that #1 it sounds like a personal essay, not an encyclopedia article. And #2, it says nothing about the commission itself.

So, I'm going to take another shot at editing this so it's more NPOV. I don't mean to sound harsh with this post, but I'm not sure I explained myself fully at first. --Woohookitty(cat scratches) 18:50, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Problem is your reversions amount to WP:NOR without reputable sources that question the Commission report with the insertion of weasel words. nobs 19:12, 30 October 2005 (UTC)


Warren Commission is a good example of what articles on commissions tend to look like on Wikipedia. It makes it clear where the statements are coming from and it explains who was on the commission, controversies about it, etc, etc. --Woohookitty(cat scratches) 19:05, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Warren Commission Report has a body of reputable Secondary sources to draw upon for criticism of the the Warren Commission Report findings; no WP:CITE have been made for the insertion of weasel words, which then amounts to original research. nobs 19:14, 30 October 2005 (UTC)


I'm going to watch this page, but put it to the backburner since I have 3-4 other NPOV issues I'm working on. But I guarentee you that the next admin that runs across the article is going to be much harher on it than I am. It's extremely POV and there is absolutely no saying that these snide comments are from the report. See ya. --Woohookitty(cat scratches) 08:21, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Problem with Truman "willfully obtuse" quote[edit]

The quote about Truman being "willfully obtuse" to Communism's dangers is referenced as coming from Moynihan. This is incorrect. The "obtuse" sentence rehashes, tendentiously I think, the work of two academics quoted in Moynihan's report. The Moynihan report does not call Truman "obtuse," that is the POV spin given by a Wikipedia editor. [1] Attributing this quote to Moynihan is incorrect because Moynihan never said it. The sentence should be removed or reworked to attribute it properly. The academics in question are Robert Louis Benson and Michael Warner, eds., VENONA: Soviet Espionage and the American Response, 1939-1957 (Washington, D.C.: National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, 1996), vii-viii. Abe Froman 18:46, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

The text "President Truman was almost willfully obtuse as regards American Communism. " appears here, in the Chairman's Foreword to the Moynihan Commission report, just as the article referenced it. This foreword carries the byline "The Honorable Daniel Patrick Moynihan; United States Senator from New York", and the text isn't in quotes, nor is there any other indication that the words come from anywhere other than Moynihan himself.
However, I'm not going to restore the text myself, because the paragraph it was in is so badly written that the point and context of the Moynihan quote are indecipherable. IMO, this article really needs a major overhaul for clarity. KarlBunker 11:44, 19 February 2007 (UTC)