Talk:Oliver Kamm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Dubious sources[edit]

There is, however, a substantial literature demonstrating that Herman and Peterson "bends, misrepresents, and suppresses facts with abandon" on the Srebrenica genocide, which is the main reason for their dispute with Oliver Kamm, who has strongly criticised Herman and his followers on this issue for many years. The aricles on Identifying reliable sources advise us to guard against using sources outside the mainstream, which MRzine/Monthly Review, a publication with a reputation for defending Chinese Communism/Maoism, certainly is. I am aware that his and Chomsky's "Propaganda model" has a following of sorts outside the political fringe, which is why I described him in the edit summary as a "disreputable figure on immediately relevant issues".

Mondoweiss in many reliable sources is described as an anti-semitic hate site, and one of its founders Philip Weiss has defended the campaigner Gilad Atzmon, a figure who is identified as an anti-semite by mainstream commentators. Reliable sources, we are informed in the IRS policy document as those with editorial oversight, including fact checking, but the article by Theodore Sayeed is riddled with errors. The journalist Bruce Anderson is falsely described as a former editor of The Spectator, while Nick Cohen, David Aaronovitch and Norman Geras are identified as "former Trotskyists". It is true Geras was once a member of the International Marxist Group, effectively defunct since 1982, but Cohen has had no such affiliation, and in fact, Aaaronovitch was once a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Aaronovitch's memoir of his Communist family was published recently and has gained much coverage, but Sayeed claims in his MW profile to be a post-graduate biologist resident in London. Yet he makes his error in an article published on 19 February 2016. So much for fact checking from him and Mondoweiss.

The Guardian interview with Chomsky, Sayeed mentions was with Emma Brockes. Marrko Attila Hoare wrote "Chomsky's Genocidal Denial" (reprinted by FrontPage magazine, 23 November 2005) in defence of the accusation that Chomsky defended Diana Johnstone's book Fool's Crusade, and thus aligned himself with genocidal deniers. Sayeed writes as though there was some kind of unfair conspiracy against Chomsky among people then active in HJS, but the evidence is against him.

Kamm was once involved with HJS, but like Marko Attila Hoare severed his connections some years ago. There is actually a shortage of blue chip reliable third-party sources which we can cite mentioning his former involvement, so the notability of this former connection has not been demonstrated. It was mentioned at the end of the couple of articles Kamm himself wrote for The Guardian a decade ago, but those were the main reliable source when I investigated a year or so ago. I removed the former reference on the basis of lack of established notability. Philip Cross (talk) 21:38, 21 February 2016 (UTC)

These arguments don't stand up. Some of them are patently silly. One of your remarks suggests you get your ideas of RS not from WP:RS but from reading extremist weebsites antagonistic to the web sources.
  • This page is mainly an exposition of what Kamm thinks, sourced from his blog. There is almost zero input outside of that, and one wonders at this point if Kamm is indeed notable enough to warrant a wiki page.
  • You remove a piece by Herman out of distaste for his views, not because he fails RS. His qualifications as professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. Kamm long worked in finance. Herman is a distinguished professor of the same subject. Their political views are diametrically opposed, but if you are giving full coverage to Kamm's views, you cannot exclude what people of his background, with better credentials, say specifically of him.
  • Your removal of their article because it appeared in MR Zine is specious. Because MR Zine publishes material from the Marxist/Socialist perspective does not invalidate it. Otherwise we would censor anything from it written by contributors like:

Tariq Ali, Isabel Allende, G. D. H. Cole, W. E. B. Du Bois, Barbara Ehrenreich, Eric Hobsbawm, Saul Landau, Ralph Miliband, Adrienne Rich, Jean-Paul Sartre, E. P. Thompson, Immanuel Wallerstein, and Raymond Williams.

Your description of Mondoweiss as antisemitic is frankly fatuous,a and only underlines that your judgement is based on distaste nurtured by what you call 'reliable sources'. You'll get many pro-Israeli websites asserting that. You'll get James Wolcott,Robert Wright etc. disagree . Our use of it, selectively, has been raised several times at RS/N and there is no blanket ban. The article in question, by Theodore Sayeed is, you assert, 'riddled with errors.' That means you are engaging in WP:OR, assuming to know more about the sources than Sayeed. Most articles I quote from mainstream sources have verifiable mistakes, in subjects I know about. I do not quote those mistakes, but what Sayeed, with links, says others have written of the Kamm-Chomsky controversy. You are silent on the HJS material, and in any case, it is not your business to adjudicate on whether an article is correct or not. The article is cited for its point of view which, in the article, consists of a summary of what several linked sources state. It is totally irrelevant to say that Hoare and Kamm severed their links with the HJS when the specific material refers to a HJS memo predating their dissociation with that society. Idem with Bruce Anderson, whose description as 'former editor' of The Spectator you charge is 'false' and therefore evidence of Sayeed's unreliability. Bruce Anderson is on that website described as former political editor of The Spectator. Out of a missed adjective you try to make a substantive argument that Anderson never was an editor at that magazine. Tosh, and hairsplitting.
The whole section in any case shouldn't be there because what Kamm has to say about Chomsky is accessible, but Chomsky's reply is not accessible, since only a version on his website exists, not a linked version he wrote for Prospect, and one cannot cite Chomsky's blog version (See Slim Virgin 2007 archives).
Finally, it is patent you are overseeing this page from sympathy for the author's views, and the page is devoid of anything but a selective curriculum of Kamm's views, without notice of external criticism. So it's an extension into Wikipedia of his blog. In looking at Google Book mentions of Kamm, one article by him is cited in several books. Nothing else has been thought noteworthy, and perhaps he himself is not noteworthy. Unless, it can be shown he is significant enough, attracted a sufficiently number of articles about him from secondary and tertiary sources by notable journalists, historians or writers, then this article should be erased as a form of self-advertisement.Nishidani (talk) 13:45, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Editors cannot use articles which are potentially libellous. One example, which I have mentioned before. The MRzine article claims Kamm altered the former Wikipedia article on Neil Clark to the extent that it had to be deleted. This is untrue. For a long time Clark thought I was Oliver Kamm editing Wikipedia under a false name. In other words, Herman and Peterson did not bother to check Clark's claims, and made an assertion which amounts to defamation. Incidentally, the self-published blog Kamm maintained before his employment at The Time is not notable within the terms used by Wikipedia, but that is what Herman and Peterson wrote about in 2010. Many of the sources disputing the credibility of Mondoweiss and Philip Weiss are accessible from those articles. I suggest they should be read before attempting to defend them.
In fact, I disagree with Oliver Kamm on lots of things, some quite substantial such as the Iraq War and Tony Blair, but that does not mean I favour Wikipedia using bad sources. I also disagree with Kamm's advocacy of deleting this article, see his comments here. His status as a leader writer and columnist for The Times, and numerous articles about his recent book Accidence Will Happen, are sufficient for him to meet the site requirement for notability. Philip Cross (talk) 14:20, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Actually those who are antagonistic to Herman include at least one supporter of the British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the form of George Monbiot. Monbiot is no "extremist", but a man of the left. See his articles Naming the Genocide Deniers (2011) and "See No Evil" (2012), both reprinted from The Guartdian, but with citations absent from the originals. As you say, Herman was a Professor of Finance, but by that logic Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson, a former Professor of French Literature also known for his connection with Chomsky, should be taken seriously too. Obviously untenable. Philip Cross (talk) 14:39, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Again, you fail to understand how this place works. What did I cite from those articles that are potentially libels? Herman is in the same financial field as Kamm. Lead writers for the Times ipso facto do not merit wiki articles. A position does not guarantee that, but notability established by peer review of what one does in one's professional capacity. Chomsky is a prof of linguistics with dozens of widely regarded historical works establishing also his claim to be a theoretician of political orders. Faurisson is a French lit prof. with no peer recognition for his stupid opinions. The analogy is stupid. Nishidani (talk) 15:32, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
The Herman and Peterson claim that Chomsky is cited "1,887 times in the 6 years from 2003 to 2009" (previously mentioned in the article) is an obvious falsehood. The claim that The Guardian "misreported" Chomsky is disputed, as I have already commented. Chomsky's political writings are controversial and far from universally admired. He wrote of Faurisson "as far as I can determine, he is a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort". In other words, Chomsky is fallible. Philip Cross (talk) 15:59, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Where is your evidence for the claim that 1,857 times is false? Until you have proof, 'obvious' means just 'I am convinced', and what you or I think is irrelevant in terms of Wikipedia article content.
  • That the Guardian 'misreported' Chomsky is disputed solely by the Kamms and Aaronovitchs of the blogosphere, who, in the face of two extremely exhaustive reviews of both Chomsky's complaints and the counter complaints of Hoare, Aaronovitch and Kamm, vindicated the gravamen of Chomsky's claim. The Guardian employed both an internal ombudsman (Ian Mayes) and, just to be exhaustive, then had an external ombudsman (John Willis) review the former's handling of the controversy. Both found unanimously in favour of Chomsky, and of the Guardian's decisions regarding their retraction. See John Willis,'External ombudsman report,' The Guardian 25 May 2006.
  • Any attempt to harp obdurately on the original blogger spin and challenge this dual extenuatingly meticulous review of the hullabaloo is sheer obsession, which no amount of reasoning can dint. Of course Chomsky is fallible. He foresaw, (unlike the mass of useful idiots who blogged and blurted on behalf of the scam)and it didn't take a genius to see through it, the Potemkin village of the tissue of lies used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion of Iraq, perhaps one of the major trigger events for the ensuing chaos in the Middle East. Kamm, Aaronovitch,Leslie Gelb, Clive James,George Packer, Al Franken, David Remnick, Bill Keller, Michael Ignatieff, Nicholas Kristof, Fareed Zakaria, Michael Walzer, Paul Berman, Thomas Friedman, Kanan Makiya, Christopher Hitchens et al., all blathered in favour. Antagonists love Chomsky because they can make a reasoned objection to some political interpretation aappear speciously dubious because Chomsky endorses it independently, as though he were some wide-eyed paranoid, and not someone who said exactly what the old elite Brent Scowcroft,Zbigniew Brzezinski, James Baker Lawrence Eagleburger and the 6 English dons, experts on Iraq whom Blair ignored after impatiently listening to them for just a half an hour, stated unambiguously.Nishidani (talk) 17:44, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
The proper compromise is to remove the whole section, which I will now do. Nothing there has any interest, other than promoting the idea that the Kamms of this world are taken seriously by people like Chomsky.Nishidani (talk) 17:47, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
I regularly and frequently read Monthly Review, MR Zine, Mondoweiss, Noam Chomsky etc., and in my view, it appears that Philip Cross's arguments above range from extremely weak to largely inaccurate to outright false and/or misleading. (For example, MR editors and contributing writers, from MR's inception in 1947 to date, have written many more articles strongly criticizing the policies of the governments of the so-called "communist" China and the so-called "communist" Soviet Union than they have written in praise of these policies. And the MR authors only praised the policies when the governments' conduct resulted in an improvement in the lives of average workers - they never praised the criminal, vicious, inhumane, anti-human policies e.g. sham trials, torture, imprisonment, hard-labor camps and gulags, mass surveillance of citizens, curtailment of citizens' civil liberties and human rights, etc - in fact the MR authors repeatedly, powerfully criticized and condemned these governmental behaviors).
In my view, it appears Nishidani's arguments above are much more convincing, and much more aligned with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, than Philip Cross's. IjonTichy (talk) 18:03, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Chomsky, see here, along with others, affirmed: "We regard Diana Johnstone's Fools' Crusade as an outstanding work, dissenting from the mainstream view but doing so by an appeal to fact and reason, in a great tradition." Despite the decision of The Guardian's readers' editor Ian Mayes, Kamm, Aaronovitch, Francis Wheen (missed above) and Marko Attila Hoare (cited above, and a proper historian on the Balkans) were right to challenge the rejection of Emma Brockes' article. The external review by John Willis does not change this. I think the passage on Kamm's writings about Chomsky should stay, but might be better incorporated in to the Opinions section. Philip Cross (talk) 18:43, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
You are again, against wiki policy about what editors do (transcribe what reliable sources state) making a personal judgement about the issues. That's fine on the talk page, but it should not affect our obligation to report what sources say, which is what is happening with your editing here. I have rewritten it according to sources that fit wiki criteria. If you can find anything loose in my paraphrase of what the external editor concluded in his review, please note it here. You do not own the page, and are reverting on the basis of your personal views, with no consensus.Nishidani (talk) 21:18, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
The new additions should be removed. Why does such an extended section on Chomsky versus The Guardian have to be included? Kamm was involved, but in currently extended section of his Wikipedia article it is inappropriate for him to be scarcely mentioned. The intention here seems to be to defend Chomsky, rather than develop an article about Oliver Kamm. Until Kamm and the others complained about Mayes decision over Brockes article, he was not involved at all; it is about about 100 words before he and the others are introduced on this issue. In the current edit, Kamm is supposedly responding in February 2006 to an external adjudication not filed until May 2006. Philip Cross (talk) 22:12, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
This is getting tiresome. You keep either editing out, or saying 'new additions' should be removed. Translation? You sit on the page and try to control its content unilaterally. As it was page was an unwiki farce linking to Kamm's articles on his blog, and with one reference to a controversy with Chomsky. The article header asked for expansion. Looking back at the history, every attempt at expansion has been annulled. The expansion re Chomsky is perfectly normal, see Norman Finkelstein for his clash with Alan Dershowitz, and the Dershowitz page for his disagreements with NF, to give just 2 of hundreds of articles where a dispute between controversialists took place. These things are covered, and Kamm's page cannot be an exceptional. The Guardian, if you read Willis's article spent a full year reviewing this case, in the light of the numerous complaints laid by Kamm and co., and found in Chomsky's favour. If Kamm attacks another person's reputation, it is not enough to have a few snippets, and links, devoid of any informative content. So it stays.Nishidani (talk) 11:31, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
The template at the top of the article asks for expansion of the summary or lede, not the whole article. I have corrected the date problem which I pointed out before. The article's on Dershowitz (55k) and Finkelstein (86k) are several times longer than this one (17k), which makes an off-topic exposition more tolerable in the other articles. The new material about an incident in which Oliver Kamm was only one of three complaints takes up slightly more than 2.5k. Clearly undue weight for a development involving The Guardian and Kamm which has had limited staying power, apart from the wider issue affecting Chomsky's reputation. Philip Cross (talk) 12:23, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
Of course the articles I cited for comparison are longer than this, because unlike this one, editors appear to have experienced no problem in those tweo in writing up controversies. There is nothing undue about this. For once in the blogojournosphere, claims by both parties regarding accurate reportage were evaluated and reevaluated for several months, with meticulous attention to the time line and flow of comments, neutrally sieved, and the verdict was that Kamm and co.,'s objections were not acceptable. If 'limited staying power' is a criterion (where is the policy for that?) then everything these journalists write should be ignored, as froth written to a deadline without the benefit of intelligent oversight and informed retrospective evaluation. An expansion of the lead means, given that leads summarize the sections, that we need in the lead to refer to the controversy with Chomsky, nothing more.As to Kamm being a minor, he was one of a trio, about which a memo has been published saying the trio was enjoined to get at Chomsky. You have refused to accept that, but it is relevant, as I haven't seen any denial of the veracity of that memo, that the HJS was angling for the three to get involved. They coordinated, as one can see by their undersigning of letters. You can't use the fact that Kamm was just one of three to deduce his role was therefore marginal. This kind of objection is not policy based. The material added is perfectly consonant with policy, and the edit made is typical of thousands of uncontested edits made every day on wiki.Nishidani (talk) 13:06, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

"quoting himself selectively"?[edit]

Who is the "himself" whom Kamm is accusing Chomsky of quoting selectively? I can't see the source at the moment, but it's not clear if it's a filter, connection problem or if the link is dead. From the context, I get the impression that Kamm is accusing Chomsky of quoting Kamm selectively, but grammatically it looks like Kamm is accusing Chomsky of quoting Chomsky selectively. Is it actually the former? And if so, would I be right in thinking the grammar here needs tweaking. Hijiri 88 (やや) 07:15, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

In context it means Chomsky quotes himself selectively. Chomsky argued that Kamm quotes him selectively, ignoring or not denying the extensive quotations of material which Chomsky marshaled as evidence for the views he holds. All of this section is crap.Nishidani (talk) 13:48, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

Whose position?[edit]

"Because of his position on war and terrorism, the commentator Peter Wilby asserted that Kamm is not actually left-wing at all"

This reads that it is Wilby's position. I suspect the writer meant Kamm's position.

I won't adjust it until I can discover what was actually meant. The ref. seems to have gone from the NS.Cannonmc (talk) 03:25, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for spotting the broken link. Wilby was writing about Kamm. Philip Cross (talk) 09:04, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Updated link and clarified. Philip Cross (talk) 09:56, 17 February 2017 (UTC)


The article reads like a CV. Keith-264 (talk) 17:47, 8 March 2017 (UTC)