Talk:Spygate (conspiracy theory)

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Change Title to “Spygate (2016 US Election)”[edit]

A decision was made on this subject on May 9. The decision can only be challenged at WP:MR. R2 (bleep) 23:02, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

With the discovery of new information from the Attorney General, the conclusion by Robert Mueller that no American colluded with Russia in 2016, the assignment of a US Attorney to investigate spying on the Trump Campaign widely reported today, May 14th, 2019 along with articles addressing the mistakes made in reporting about the spying on the Trump campaign, it is safe to conclude that any reasonable person reviewing the partisan news sources from left to right, from the N.Y. Times to the Washington Examiner, from CNN to Fox News that while the President of the US was widely mocked at the time that he claimed he had been spied upon during the 2016 campaign that indeed his statement from that time now merits some credibility. This has moved from the suggestion of “conspiracy theory” where partisans view the activities differently to the very reasonable conclusion supported by reliable sources that as the Attorney General has said, “There was spying. The question is whether it was adequately predicated.” So while in 2017 this topic may have reasonably been considered a “conspiracy theory” (if one simply accepted the US partisan left media at its word) it is no longer reasonable to consider it a theory. [1] Wcmcdade (talk) 18:14, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

Good God, I ran out of breath. Can you say that again? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shtove (talkcontribs) 19:11, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
I have seen no RS that says Trump was spied on, as claimed. O3000 (talk) 19:28, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
You are trying to reduce this to a semantics debate. Spying. Surveillance. Investigation. Whatever. You are asking for a unicorn because nothing the FBI does is spying, ever. Not even for political purposes. The whole purpose of this article has always been to portray the President as a conspiracy theorist, a liar and a kook. You people will continue to cling to the most specious of arguments to preserve its existence with silly wiki lawyering behind facades of innocent faces. Claiming news analysis is accepted as factual. Look at your references, how many of them are calling spygate a conspiracy theory now? They are all 2 years old and no journalist is sticking their neck out to ridicule reality today. This article will disappear soon just like the credibility of the editors who tried to preserve it. Batvette (talk) 23:52, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
I have no idea what you are talking about. WP:AGF O3000 (talk) 23:58, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
I think it's pretty obvious what they are talking about. The New York Times article is rather obviously RS that "says Trump was spied on, as claimed." It literally admits that is the case in the article - the exact quote is that the FBI planting a spy in Europe to entrap Papadopoulous using a fake identity ("Azra Turk") "could also give ammunition to Mr. Trump and his allies for their spying claims."[2] I would also add that recent RS are significantly at odds with the very narrow definition of Spygate used in this article. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 18:02, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
That is not at all what the Times reported. Not even close. soibangla (talk) 18:24, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
No, it does not say that Trump was spied on. It clearly states that the FBI was alarmed at the ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well they should have been. We have known this all along. The claims made by Trump that a spy was planted in his campaign to harm his campaign is a debunked conspiracy theory. O3000 (talk) 18:11, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
You're not arguing with me, you're literally arguing with the article. The RS article itself says this information could give ammunition to Mr. Trump and his allies for their "spying claims." They specifically use the word "Spying," and they specifically state that the use of a confidential informant (i.e. a spy) to gather information on Papadopolous lends credence to claims of spying. This isn't me saying this, it's an RS article. I am trying my very best to assume good faith here, but that you would so misconstrue the information provided in the article strains credulity at this point. Azra Turk was a spy, she was engaged in spying against the Campaign. I would invite you to visit the Merriam Webster dictionary and look up the definition of "Spy." None of this is hard to understand. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 18:20, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

Other popular conspiracy theories such as Bigfoot, the Roswell UFO, etc do not have "conspiracy theory" in the title. The fact that "conspiracy theory" is in the title and not just in the body of the article betrays the partisan motivations behind this Wiki entry. I second the request to remove "Conspiracy theory" from the title. Evidence has surfaced that makes it seem very likely that the FBI did indeed surveil the Trump campaign and worked against his election. At the very least, the idea that the FBI spied (or surveilled) on Trump is open for discussion and discovery -- it is not merely a conspiracy theory. So besides the title being obviously partisan, it is also incorrect to label Spygate as a conspiracy theory at the moment. AnonElectricSheep (talk) 18:46, 16 May 2019 (UTC)

AnonElectricSheep, no one seriously disputes that there was surveillance of the Trump campaign. It is not that aspect that got this called a conspiracy theory. It was several false claims about Halper made by Trump. That has never changed. Those claims are still false. -- BullRangifer (talk) 02:27, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
You need to be specific about which claims exactly you are referring to with respect to Halper. Because at the very least there is RS material that indicates that, in fact, Halper was spying on members of Trump's campaign.[3] The use of a covert government agent to collect information on people under an assumed name is spying. The FBI did use a covert government agent to collect information on Papadapolous, via Halper. So I'm not understanding which claims made by Trump, specifically, you claim are false... SIPPINONTECH (talk) 18:10, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  • We just got through a months-long series of debates about the title of this article. I was opposed to the current title, and I was opposed to the process that led to the current title; nevertheless, the current title is where we landed. We are not going to reopen the debate for at least a few months. R2 (bleep) 02:31, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Totally agree. No need for another change so soon. -- BullRangifer (talk) 15:13, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support name change as proposed. Only question is why is it taking so long to NPOV this article's title? AppliedCharisma (talk) 14:48, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Because it is NPOV. Trump made several false claims about Halper's surveillance, and RS labeled that narrative a conspiracy theory. Trump's followers still believe his false narrative. -- BullRangifer (talk) 15:13, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, actually, it's mostly "news analysis" pieces--one by NYT, one by WaPo, one by Vox--that labeled his claims a conspiracy theory. Hard to find a news report that labels it that way. So what you said is debatable. Such pieces are currently being discussed at RSN. Shinealittlelight (talk) 15:51, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
It's not "debatable," it's flat out wrong. The definition of Spygate being used by these commenters you are responding to is overly-narrow, as has been very thoroughly demonstrated in other sections of this talk page. Not only that, but the New York Times published an article which confirmed the FBI was using a spy - likely using a false identity - to try to gather intelligence on George Papadopoulous.[1] It is only through a very selective and inconsistent use of now-outdated sources that someone could even pretend to make the case that Trump has "false" claims about the very real spying that did in fact occur against his Campaign. It is only by redefining the word "spying," or intentionally mischaracterizing what "Spygate" actually is, that these commenters continue the farce that somehow Trump was incorrect to allege that spying did take place. The only real ambiguity concerning Spygate is whether that spying was done legitimately. Even using the incorrect, extremely narrow definition of certain bad-faith editors, it is still incorrect to say that Trump's claims were "false." If anything, Trump's claims concerning attempts to use spies against members of his campaign appear to be true. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 17:38, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
What I meant was debatable is specifically the claim that "news analysis" pieces can be relied upon for unattributed factual content. I agree with you that it isn't debatable that the current article cherry picks sources and defines "spygate" in an accordingly narrow way. Shinealittlelight (talk) 18:14, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

(removed per WP:BE R2 (bleep) 18:47, 17 May 2019 (UTC))

I think the above commenter is correct. Any objective reading of the talk page of this article, not to mention the article itself, shows that a handful of editors with an extremely obvious political agenda have maliciously constructed and edited this article in such a way as to turn it into anything but a neutral, factual accounting of "Spygate." Perhaps the most egregious abuse is the intentional mischaracterization of "Spygate" as being limited only to the accusations against Halper/Mifsud - that definition of Spygate is both outdated and incorrect. In other sections of this article, I have shown these malicious editors RS material that explicitly defines Spygate as the broader counterintel operation against the Trump Campaign that involved FISA warrants (that we know for a fact were issued against Page and possibly against others involved in the Campaign.) Despite providing them with good sources, they're still maliciously misconstruing the definition Spygate. It is absolutely shameful that Wikipedia would allow this to happen. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 16:34, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
This is but a string of personal attacks. PAs convince no one.O3000 (talk) 18:17, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I disagree that it's a "personal attack," it's a general comment about the tone and the tenor of some of the editors here. Quite simply, the fact that there are people still defining "Spygate" as narrowly as they possibly can, and trying to redefine the word "Spy" in order to justify overtly maligning the President of the United States throughout this article implies malicious intent. There is nothing personal about it. The opening of the "Background" section reads: "Trump has been involved in the promotion of a number of conspiracy theories which are lacking in evidence. These have included promoting Barack Obama citizenship conspiracy theories from 2011, claiming in 2016 that Ted Cruz's father was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and claiming that he would have won the popular vote in the 2016 election if not for "millions" of illegal voters." That is egregiously, laughably political. The talk page is similarly egregious. This entire article and talk page are an affront to Wikipedia's credibility and a microcosm of everything wrong with its community. This kind of blatant and self-serving partisanship deserves to be called out, and I do not apologize for doing so. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 18:39, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
This article is about Trump's specific assertion that a spy was planted in his campaign. Barr made ambiguous comments in his testimony, which have been extensively discussed here, and a consensus was reached that the comments were sufficiently ambiguous that the scope of the article should not be broadened at this time. soibangla (talk) 18:49, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
No, this article is about Spygate. The majority of RS define it differently (more broadly) than you are doing here. Regardless of "consensus," contemporary RS do not refer to Spygate as narrowly as you insist on doing. See above section. Once again, it's ridiculous that we are still having this discussion. SIPPINONTECH (talk) 20:09, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Sippinontech. It's about spygate, and the current article defines that term in a way that cherry picks a few "news analysis" pieces. I invite you both to weigh in on whether such pieces are RS at RSN. Shinealittlelight (talk) 22:15, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Spygate was a term Trump coined with a specific meaning. After Barr's testimony, there was extensive discussion over many days on this page about broadening the scope of the article, and the consensus was reached that we should not at this time. We should let that stand for a while unless/until there are material developments in the matter, as reported in RS, rather than get embroiled in a maelstrom of speculation pushed by partisans. soibangla (talk) 22:28, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Let's focus on content, not editors. Shinealittlelight (talk) 22:32, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
That's exactly what I am doing. soibangla (talk) 22:35, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

  • SIPPINONTECH, you made your position on this perfectly clear in your !vote on May 3. That move request, in which dozens of editors voted, did not go your (our) way. Further argument on this issue is disruptive, and I've asked MelanieN to close this discussion. Please drop the stick. R2 (bleep) 18:44, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
(removed per WP:BE R2 (bleep) 21:51, 17 May 2019 (UTC))
Support name change as proposedBatvette (talk) 20:19, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

RfC: conspiracy theory[edit]

Duplicative. We have consensus in discussions closed May 2 and May 9 that we should describe Spygate as a conspiracy theory.
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Should we continue to describe Spygate as a conspiracy theory? R2 (bleep) 22:43, 17 May 2019 (UTC)


(Yes = continue describing Spygate as conspiracy theory, no = stop describing Spygate as conspiracy theory)

Extended discussion[edit]

We just did this. O3000 (talk) 22:47, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

Facepalm. I will withdraw and close. R2 (bleep) 22:51, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
Reopening withdrawn RfCs is disruptive. R2 (bleep) 17:40, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

I reopened. 1. I did not have any part in any previous discussion or supposed "consensus". 2. There was not a "consensus" otherwise there wouldn't be at least 2 editors who think that we need to remove "conspiracy theory" and change the name. 3. Can you point to any other actual conspiracy theories that title the article in this fashion on Wikipedia with "(conspiracy theory)" in the title? 4. There is extremely strong WP:RS evidence that the Trump campaign was spied on. So for a US President to make such a claim does not at all feel like or sound like a conspiracy theory.

Previous comments moved as I am reopening the RfC.Wcmcdade (talk) 16:28, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

You're linking to your own argument for a reference? As if its the last word on this, when we have RS stating Trump had good reason to say what did? This is getting silly. Your position rests upon Trumps claims getting some details wrong but overall he was mostly right, this conspiracy theory thing is getting narrower and narrower. So its coming down to proving it was for political purposes ... ignoring this? ? Really? 

"An FBI agent who was removed from the probe into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign texted an FBI attorney that the agency would "stop" then-candidate Donald Trump from becoming president."

 Trying to assume good faith here but its hard with your edit history. You are a productive objective editor and an asset to wiki but your anti Trump sentiments are pretty obvious.  Why the stubbornness to continue the wrong angle to this story?Batvette (talk) 18:56, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
I withdrew the RfC. Please stop. R2 (bleep) 19:29, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Points presented that argue this was Trumps conspiracy theory rather than erroneous details of otherwise well founded suspicions.[edit]

This seems to be the basis for preserving the CT nature of this article and it seems to have been focused around 4 points listed by BR. He concedes surveillance occurred. I think we all agree what it was called is irrelevant. He places significance on errors of the date the investigation starts but IMO that goes hand in hand on what starts it- the Steele dossier as well as intel about George P boasting about Russian leaks. I dont think Trump getting the dates wrong merits calling it a conspiracy theory, indeed, he was going on what he knew at the time. I also think that an error about Halpers role or whether he was paid massive amounts matter much. Halper was paid $1mil by the feds, we know that. What makes this a Trump conspiracy theory, at the end of the day, is claiming the investigation was for political purposes and done by the Obama admin. Can we agree on that? This dispenses with ever narrowing arguments concerning Trumps errors which as usual were plenty and cuts it away to the gist of his self proclaimed bombshell, and do RS provide evidence that his accusation was crazy or rational. Im going to let this essay sit and stew a bit before presenting some RS to support this and what I have seen today may or may not be news to anyone. I might further note that a lot of discussion says that the investigation was merited based on preliminary evidence about the players under Trump. This appears true. However the Mueller report finds little to no evidence Trump orchestrated any Russian collusion so why should he not assume political reasons... and when the investigation continues despite concerns over the Steele dossier and Azra Turks efforts with George P going nowhere... should we consider that it did become political? RS have texts from Page and Strzok that suggest thats exactly what happened, and that it was under direction of the White House. Will provide if necessary.Batvette (talk) 22:07, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

I see you have not made a single edit to the article. Why not try that? soibangla (talk) 22:23, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Conspiracy theory discussion #__[edit]

Spygate is not a conspiracy theory any more! Please update your site accordingly. Get your facts straight otherwise you are guilty of the same thing the media has been doing all along. Catquillen (talk) 22:42, 18 May 2019 (UTC)

Not done - Wikipedia is based on mainstream reliable sources. Your personal belief that these sources are biased or wrong is of no consequence here. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 22:44, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Is Paste a reliable source for politics? I have never heard of this magazine. Is it mainstream? Why isn't the claim that Spygate is a conspiracy theory sourced in NPR, NBC, ABC, CBS, Reuters, AP, BBC, Bloomberg, or USA Today? Oh, right, because although all these sources reported on Spygate, none of them called it a conspiracy theory, so we had to cherry pick Paste and the Intercept. How embarrassing. Shinealittlelight (talk) 23:09, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
Can we at least remove Paste and the Intercept? RSN seems to regard Intercept as unreliable without attribution. And Paste is apparently a magazine that focuses on entertainment. What the heck? Shinealittlelight (talk) 23:11, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
@Soibangla: WaPo states in their reader guide that their news analysis pieces are opinion pieces. See here: [1] So the WaPo seems like another inappropriate source. Keep looking, though--maybe you can find a choicer cherry to replace it. Also, Newsweek is a little weak as support for the central claim of the article. Shinealittlelight (talk) 23:44, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
@Shinealittlelight: - I strongly disagree with your interpretation of WaPo's policy. The separation of news columns from the editorial pages is solemn and complete ... But nothing in this separation of functions is intended to eliminate from the news columns honest, in-depth reporting, or analysis or commentary when plainly labeled. Thus, Analysis is News under WaPo. starship.paint (talk) 05:15, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@Starship.paint: the the whole section you're quoting from is the "OPINION" section of the article. They're explaining how they label the various sorts of opinion columns in their publication, and how it's ok that there is some opinion in some of their news sources, so long as they are careful to label them as analysis pieces. That's how I read it anyway. Hard to understand the title of the sub-section you're quoting if the various labels are not regarded as different sorts of opinion columns. Shinealittlelight (talk) 12:22, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@Shinealittlelight: - there is some opinion in some of their news sources - your statement doesn’t tally that WaPo said The separation of news columns from the editorial pages is solemn and complete. This separation is intended to serve the reader, who is entitled to the facts in the news columns and to opinions on the editorial and “op-ed” pages. There is no mix of opinion and fact here. Opinions are on editorial and op-ed pages. Nowhere does it say that opinions are on Analysis pages. What it does say is that analysis is on Analysis pages. They have named the subsection Opinion just to clarify their commitment to keeping news and opinion separate. starship.paint (talk) 13:45, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@Starship.paint: Well, I can understand that reading of what they wrote, but I disagree with it because it's absurd to suggest that their analysis pieces do not contain opinion, since they obviously do. In any case, I'd like to hear your take on the whole issue at RSN. Shinealittlelight (talk) 18:55, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@Shinealittlelight: Nah, I won't. But from reading that discussion, we could cite the conspiracy theory labels according to author and publication. It wouldn't hurt. starship.paint (talk) 07:04, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
@Starship.paint: I agree! Let's do that! But then how should the title be handled? I suppose we don't want the title of the article to include an attribution. Shinealittlelight (talk) 11:17, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
@Shinealittlelight: - I guess the title would stay the same if there are indeed many sources calling it a conspiracy theory. It has to be step-wise though. Body first, then the lede then the title. starship.paint (talk) 11:26, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Do you believe that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign to alter the election in favor of Clinton? If so, please point to reliable sources. If not, what is your point? O3000 (talk) 23:57, 18 May 2019 (UTC)
My beliefs on that matter are not under discussion. My point is that the WaPo piece is not an appropriate source in this case, for the indicated reason. That's also exactly what I said. Shinealittlelight (talk) 00:03, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Oh, and my other point is that Newsweek is a weak source. Also exactly what I said. Shinealittlelight (talk) 00:06, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
    • 03000, the texts between Strzok and Page prove exactly that, that they intended to prevent his win, and that their activities were directly reporting to the white house. RS everywhere on that. Batvette (talk) 00:18, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Let's see those RS.Volunteer Marek (talk) 00:20, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
That's ludicrous and a serious WP:BLP violation. O3000 (talk) 00:34, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
That is not at all "proven". You and others are misrepresenting those text messages. – Muboshgu (talk) 00:36, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

I agree that Trump's claims are unsubstantiated, and that he made them to discredit the Mueller investigation. That's the correct way to describe the situation, in line with tons of reliable mainstream sources, which I've detailed on this page. Instead, you guys are cherry picking Newsweek, some opinion pieces, and one outlier report from the LA times. Stop cherry picking. Shinealittlelight (talk) 00:25, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

Here's Vox, Rolling Stone, GQ, CNN, Vanity Fair, New York, etc. using the same terminology. We don't need WP:CITEKILL in the lede to make the point. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 00:37, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Right, GQ and the like, and another CNN opinion piece. That's reassuring. Why not consider what I said: the traditional RS news sources described the situation as I did: his claims were and are unsubstantiated, and they were originally made to discredit the Mueller investigation. Put it that way, cite some real RSs, and then you don't have to turn to mens fashion media or entertainment media. Shinealittlelight (talk) 00:49, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Here's PoliticoThe retiring South Carolina Republican’s emergence as a critic of Trump’s conspiracy theory began Tuesday. You've asked for more and better sources than Paste and The Intercept, and those sources have been provided. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 01:02, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Haaretz: Fox News, which is often in sync with U.S. President Donald Trump both rhetorically and politically, is joining some Republican leaders in sounding the alarm that Trump’s latest conspiracy theory, “Spygate,” may finally be a step too far and even a threat to rule of law in the U.S. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 01:03, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@NorthBySouthBaranof: - could you add the best sources to the body? Thanks. starship.paint (talk) 05:23, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
RS for the texts. would you like more?Batvette (talk) 03:34, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
The fuck is "CNSNEWS"? NY Post? Please approach article editing seriously. If you're gonna promise "RS", then provide those RS, not garbage. The other two sources are marginally better though probably still not RS for claims of fact, and they also do not say what you claim they say.Volunteer Marek (talk) 05:30, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
I've seen a lot of argument on this page, and I think this is the first time someone started cussing. Too bad. I find it uncivil, and I think it raises the temperature in an unhelpful way. Shinealittlelight (talk) 22:17, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Hardly the worst civility problem here. O3000 (talk) 22:19, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Never said it was the worst. In a way, the fact that there has been so little cussing is a credit to participants in this debate. Shinealittlelight (talk) 22:27, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Personally I see attempts at shoving garbage into our articles as far more offensive than a naughty word.Volunteer Marek (talk) 23:24, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, by all means, keep cussing at us then. As long as you're not doing the most offensive thing, I guess. Shinealittlelight (talk) 00:34, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, you seem upset at the use of one word from 16th century Germany. But, when someone uses words against another editor like sophomoric, willful ignorance, cabal, joke, master of nothing, childish incompetence, boorish, lame, lack of a competant (sic) argument, you haven’t said a word. Well, not quite true. You engaged that editor on your talk page after all of these attacks referring to their conduct suchly: “a reasonable conservative tries to play by the rules” and then adding your own PA against editors there. These are actual violations. Glass houses. O3000 (talk) 00:51, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
That's false. I did not refer to that editor's conduct in that way. I said that I was interested in seeing what happens when a reasonable conservative plays by the rules, since that's what I aspire to do, and what I believe I have done. I have not commented on that editor's conduct, but I do have objections to the language that editor used. I did not personally attack anyone. I do think that there are editors with primarily political motivations around here, and I think that such behavior is necessarily both dumb and destructive. I have not personally attacked any of these politically motivated editors, or named them. So quit making things up about me, please. Shinealittlelight (talk) 01:03, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
My point remains. You think it uncivil to use one word not aimed at an editor; yet to an editor that made a broad set of personal attacks against another editor, you claimed that they "played by the rules". I'll leave it at that. O3000 (talk) 01:11, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
No, I didn't claim that. Read again. Shinealittlelight (talk) 01:16, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
I see you have not made a single edit to the article. Why not try that? soibangla (talk) 03:42, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
  • There are a couple of editors here who have not been respecting the recent consensus. It is time to drop the stick. R2 (bleep) 03:53, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
I count no less than 28 different editors who have posted on this page since april 12 (this is all topics currently on the page) who disagreed with the POV nature of the article and/or want CT dropped from the title. Why the misportrayal? If you dont want to participate in the discussion you dont have to. Batvette (talk) 15:45, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Volunteer Marek you are trying to deny the facts by attacking the source. The statements by those agents were lifted directly from an official Justice Dept report. Here it is from the Washington Post. There it is, reliable sources stating as fact, that top FBI officials engaged in inappropriate behavior with the intent of hurting Trumps chances of winning the election. Thats from the inspector general report. These officials were assigned to the case as it was being investigated in London and their own words state their intentions as well as describing their actions were reported directly to the President.Batvette (talk) 14:33, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, I read through your WaPo cite twice. I saw absolutely nothing relating in any manner to the subject of this thread. It is completely off-topic. O3000 (talk) 14:58, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Willful ignorance is hardly a talking point I feel obligated to waste time on.Batvette (talk) 15:36, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
@Batvette: - please provide exact quotes. starship.paint (talk) 15:46, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Please stop your personal attacks. They are not useful. O3000 (talk) 15:49, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
The statement clearly refers to WHAT YOU ARE POSTING HERE, not who you are nor anything about your person. Such false accusations against editors are a lame form of deflection and demonstrate a lack of a competant arguement. (not a personal attack either)Batvette (talk) 16:34, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
Please stop your personal attacks. This is disruptive. O3000 (talk) 15:49, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

In light of the fact that 03000 asks this question in this thread "Do you believe that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign to alter the election in favor of Clinton? If so, please point to reliable sources. If not, what is your point?" And the WaPo RS furnished directly supports this assertion nearly verbatim in its lede paragraphs suggests an intent to troll this discussion. I will not further respond to such nonsense. This discussion appears to be going nowhere but neither am I. These boorish tactics will not serve you well when recorded for posterity on this page.Batvette (talk) 16:46, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

I see nothing in the WaPo lede that supports anything of the sort, and you have failed to provide any such quotes. And I ask a third time -- please stop your personal attacks. O3000 (talk) 16:54, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

Copy and paste this alleged personal attack on the appropriate admin page. Your disruption of this talk page violates numerou wiki policies and insults my intelligence with its childish incompetance. (Now lets walk through why thats not a personal attack. If so I would say 03000 is childish and incompetant. But I nor anyone reading this page really give a damn about you and once I sign off you are forgotten. So a personal attack is a waste of my time and its bizarre to display such self importance by accusing me of engaging in it. Rather I say YOUR DISRUPTION,i.e; "what you are doing here" is childish and incompetant. The distinction should be as obvious as knowing an adjective from an adverb. I hope this has been helpful and I do thank you for making me look like a pompous ass in educating you. (THAT is a personal attack on myself. See?)Batvette (talk) 17:26, 19 May 2019 (UTC) Sigh. The inspector general report cited an official, (the lead investigator of the Trump Russia investigation peter strzok) as having " a willingness to take official action to prevent donald trump from becoming president". Thats what it says and that article and the others provided say a lot more. Take it or leave it, your approval is hardly a prerequisite for me to get through my day. This is my last interaction with you. Batvette (talk) 17:38, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

This article is about Spygate. All I am seeing from you is claims that you are right accompanied by streams of insults. Nothing about a spy in Trump’s campaign to harm his electoral chances. O3000 (talk) 18:20, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
For there record this was users original request. "Do you believe that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign to alter the election in favor of Clinton?" and asked for RS. Unimpeachable RS provided with near verbatim passage at lede no less. Now changes request with sly word change (now its IN the campaign) but says NOTHING about it was furnished. User has continued bizarre false allegations about personal attacks even making threats on my talk page. Hes been challenged to copy and paste my words to whatever higher power he likes, as I am certain everyone given admin status at wiki reached a level of education to differentiate adjectives from adverbs. Comments by editors are content and thus their arguments and behaviour-but not who or what they are-are relevant to discussion. Users acknowledgement of this is neither necessary nor solicited. Topical relevance of this will be for other editors opposing this alleged consensus to see the level of discourse they should expect from certain (but not all) editors. Admin can see consensus has endured here due to persistent threats against editors, sophomoric debate tactics such as willful ignorance, moving goalposts, semantics,just plain being disruptive. And they can see the consensus cabal here seeks the lofty goal of forcing experienced editors away in utter disgust, finally understanding why academia unamimously rejects wiki for reference in scholarly work. Well done, and one obvious reality to note. Winning in politics requires convincing those opposing you or on the fence that your position is the more reasonable to hold. Not to display that your tactics are lower than theirs and drive them away with disgust. Trump thanks you for assisting in his 2020 reelection. Im going to take this as far as closing a 12 year old account and Im the winner. Wasted about 20 hours this week on this joke. He who rules a wiki article is the master of nothing.Batvette (talk) 19:56, 19 May 2019 (UTC)
New York Post and something called "CNS News" are NOT "unimpeachable RS". They're garbage.Volunteer Marek (talk) 23:27, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

Mr. Volunter Marek, you already voiced your disdain at these sources and to humor you my reply at 14:33, 19 May 2019 above mentioned you by name and additionally furnished a reference from the Washington Post. ALL of these news reports reference the report from the inspector general, I dont think questioning their worth on RS is a productive discussion when their use is to provide passages from a government report. In any case if you are going to butt in to my exchanges with other editors demanding I jump through hoops for your satisfaction, I think it would be nice of you to follow the discussion enough to notice that I acknowledged you and expended time and energy fulfilling your wishes.Batvette (talk) 06:25, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

As for your assertion that the NYPost is a "garbage source" Im afraid to tell you that you have a LOT of work ahead of you cleaning up wiki to your standards. Literally THOUSANDS of articles at least by estimate link to it for RS reference. So I think some editors disagree. Feel free to delete that part of your comment if you like.Batvette (talk) 06:55, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
WP:RSP - The New York Post is a tabloid newspaper with high circulation, and most editors prefer more reliable sources when available starship.paint (talk) 07:00, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Batvette - your WaPo source says The inspector general concluded that Strzok’s text, along with others disparaging Trump, “is not only indicative of a biased state of mind but, even more seriously, implies a willingness to take official action to impact the presidential candidate’s electoral prospects.”. But you, Batvette, says that top FBI officials engaged in inappropriate behavior with the intent of hurting Trumps chances of winning the election. You have thoroughly misinterpreted the source. Willingness is not action. starship.paint (talk) 07:00, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

You, Batvette, also said regarding Strzok/Page that describing their actions were reported directly to the President, while earlier you said that that their activities were directly reporting to the white house. I cannot find this at all in the WaPo source. starship.paint (talk) 07:00, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

""Sounds like splitting hairs here. The assertion about reporting to the white house was in one of the other references.Batvette (talk) 01:03, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

  • I’m sorry guys, I’m at a loss here. What are we arguing about? Batvette and Shinealittlelight, is either of you making a specific proposal to change the article? R2 (bleep) 07:04, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

New approach: in-text attribution of "conspiracy theory"[edit]

I think it would be a good idea attribute descriptions of Spygate being a "conspiracy theory" to specific authors and their news organizations. I have started it off with [2] this edit. If you think Spygate is a conspiracy theory, do join in and add sources. starship.paint (talk) 07:23, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

I disagree with this approach on neutrality grounds (specifically, WP:YESPOV, "Do not treat facts as opinions" and WP:GEVAL) and WP:FRINGE. If reliable sources say that something is a conspiracy theory without contradiction, then we shouldn't attribute that in-text as that suggests that this is just a viewpoint and implies a false equivalence between reliable sources and unreliable, fringe views. This is especially important in this context because Trump has accused the reliable media of publishing "fake news" and being an "enemy of the people." We shouldn't play into that framing, which is contrary to how Wikipedia works. R2 (bleep) 17:54, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, you know what I think. But I'll say it again very briefly here: there are two known news reports that use "CT": one from LA times, and one from Haaretz. The vast majority of other sources--you can find them in the list of sources that I and Starship.paint made on this page above--do not use this term, and tend to frame their reporting differently, where Trump is said to have made these unsubstantiated claims for political reasons. I think that NPOV requires us to frame the discussion like that as a result, and to use in-text attribution for the opinion that Spygate is a conspiracy theory. Sources also do not define 'spygate' univocally, and no one definition appears to be dominant, so that should affect our framing as well. @Starship.paint: how are you thinking about this? Shinealittlelight (talk) 18:11, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
@Shinealittlelight: I have seen some credence to your claim that sources treat Spygate differently (a bit differently, not a lot). But first we have to describe it in the article. Which is what I'm trying to do - to get a sense of what source is saying what. starship.paint (talk) 02:05, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I object to Shinealittlelight's characterization of "conspiracy theory" as an "opinion." Maybe that was inadvertent wording, but it's not an opinion. Based on our verifiability policy, it's a verifiable fact. R2 (bleep) 18:15, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
I think you mean that you object to my characterization of the view that Spygate is a conspiracy theory as an opinion. But, although I do think that's an opinion, or contentious, or whatever word you want to use here, and although that's relevant to whether we can use "news analysis" pieces as a source (per the recent RSN discussion of that matter), my main point is that the vast majority of straight news sources frame the story as I indicated, and not as we are framing it, with such heavy emphasis on the conspiracy theory angle. I believe we also have some news reports stating that "conspiracy theory" has been the language preferred by democrats. Shinealittlelight (talk) 18:21, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
I think you mean that you object to my characterization of the view that Spygate is a conspiracy theory as an opinion. Yes, that's what I meant. R2 (bleep) 19:29, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Agree with R2. Keep it simple. We had a well attended RfC that shows the consensus is behind calling this a conspiracy theory in the title. If so for the title, it's so for the text. O3000 (talk) 18:13, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
@Objective3000: It's the text that determines the title, not the other way around. Plus if you were confident that many sources call it a conspiracy theory, a ton of them would be attributed. That's pretty convincing in my view. Would you know that the article at present only cites Spygate as a conspiracy theory 4 times in the body? That's a low count in my book. starship.paint (talk) 02:05, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I did not mean that as an explanation of process. Only that we just completed an RfC on the title, and as you say, the title wouldn't include that wording if not the text. I don't think counting the number of times a word exists in the text is that meaningful. Repetition is boring. O3000 (talk) 12:06, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Nevertheless O3000, do you feel that adding more sources would help? starship.paint (talk) 13:59, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I generally don't like WP:OVERCITE in an article. O3000 (talk) 01:08, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

@Ahrtoodeetoo: - WP:NPOV - Uncontested and uncontroversial factual assertions made by reliable sources should normally be directly stated in Wikipedia's voice. - I'd say the claim is far from uncontested and uncontroversial. This talk page is evidence enough. WP:GEVAL doesn't apply - we're not giving credence to minority opinions - we are describing the majority opinion. starship.paint (talk) 01:56, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

It's uncontested and uncontroversial as far as the reliable sources are concerned. I don't think that loud voices should change that. R2 (bleep) 03:45, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
@Ahrtoodeetoo: - if it is that uncontested, then help me and help readers, put in more reliable sources into the article saying that it is a conspiracy theory. Instead what you did is delete those reliable sources... the sources directly saying Spygate is a conspiracy theory. Here I am trying to add that "A/B/C/D/E called Spygate a conspiracy theory" and you are against that...? starship.paint (talk) 04:11, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
That's just not how neutrality works. See also WP:Citation overkill#In-article conflict. (Please, stop pinging me. I'm watching this page.) R2 (bleep) 04:21, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Sorry about the pings. You've linked to a section about In-article conflict where it says Competing assertions with no context are not encyclopedic. But there is no conflict here at present. starship.paint (talk) 04:33, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

Current state of the article[edit]

The article's body currently only labels Spygate as a conspiracy theory four times.

  1. The stuff with @Nick_Falco.
    • In the New York magazine source, Spygate is indirectly called it a conspiracy theory in the source text and directly in the source title.
  2. Jon Meacham
    • In the source, Meacham calls it a conspiracy theory indirectly in the source text, while the source title from NYT calls directly in the source title
  3. Aaron Blake
    • In the source, directly called a conspiracy theory in the WaPo source text
  4. Zack Beauchamp, directly in the text
    • In the source, directly called a conspiracy theory in the Vox source text

Does anyone else not see this as a problem? If many many sources call Spygate a conspiracy theory, either we have one mention backed up with a ton of sources, or many mentions. We have neither at the moment. starship.paint (talk) 02:15, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

I'm sorry, I don't understand. In general we say things once, or possibly twice if it's in both the lead and the body. And it only needs one citation. R2 (bleep) 03:47, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
@Ahrtoodeetoo: - it's clear to me that this issue is controversial. There is a majority viewpoint and a minority (possibly even to the point of fringe, then it need not even be mentioned) viewpoint. But we can't simply have the majority viewpoint be attributed to one citation. We could say things twice (once in the lead and once in the body) if both directly say: Spygate is a conspiracy theory.[1][2][3][4][5]. But this isn't what it is in the article's body. starship.paint (talk) 04:05, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
As far as reliable sources are concerned there is no minority viewpoint. All reliable sources that have weighed in on whether Spygate is a conspiracy theory have concluded that it is. To me, that settles the matter conclusively. This reminds me of debates over whether so-and-so should be called a white supremacist, when some sources say that person is a white supremacist and some are silent on the matter. The consensus always ended up being yes. Except that this case has a fringe aspect because we have all sorts of people pushing a view not supported by the reliable sources, so it's especially important that we defend our core policies. R2 (bleep) 04:17, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
@Ahrtoodeetoo: - here's a question. Do you think it is beneficial, or harmful, to add even more reliable sources calling Spygate a conspiracy theory? starship.paint (talk) 04:19, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
It depends on how it's written, but in general it's harmful because it suggests a dispute where there should be none. R2 (bleep) 04:25, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
How then, can we add reliable sources in a beneficial manner? starship.paint (talk) 04:30, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I'm all for adding more sources to this content in the body. It is the wording that pushes it one way or the other. Just state that it's a conspiracy theory and provide 3-4 good sources. Then we're finished there and here. -- BullRangifer (talk) 05:54, 21 May 2019 (UTC)


  1. Argumentation and Advocacy - Prof Ryan Neville-Shepard - April 20, 2019: Trump has now jumped from one conspiracy theory to another at a dizzying rate ... law enforcement officials of infiltrating the campaign
  2. Springer Nature / Palgrave Macmillan - Prof Daniel C. Hellinger - September 21, 2018: This chapter reviews some of the most political controversial conspiracy theories, including ... illegal surveillance of Trump’s campaign (“Spygate”)
  3. ABC News - James Hill - June 8, 2018 "Spygate," his name for the unsubstantiated claim that the Obama Justice Department sent an undercover informant into the Trump campaign in an effort to sink his bid for president. As the so-called "Spygate" conspiracy simmers in the public debate, a fresh take on the matter boiled over on cable news earlier this week and eventually made its way to the president's Twitter feed, too ... the "ocunus lures" conspiracy ... this particular conspiracy theory - from the depths of Reddit to President Trump's Twitter feed
  4. Haaretz - no author - May 31, 2018: Trump’s latest conspiracy theory, “Spygate,” ... Trump and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani have been alleging that former President Obama placed “spies” in his presidential campaign as a means to gather intelligence for both Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.
  5. Politico - Kyle Cheney - June 2, 2018: Trump’s conspiracy theory ... the president’s unsupported claim that Democrats and their sympathizers in the FBI embedded a spy in his 2016 campaign. and May 30, 2018: what the president dubbed “spygate” ... Trump’s spygate claim ... President Donald Trump’s claim that the FBI embedded a spy in his campaign for political purposes
  6. Los Angeles Times - Chris Megerian and Eli Stokols - May 30, 2018: The air seems to be going out of “Spygate. While President Trump still touts the unfounded claim that the Obama administration improperly spied on his 2016 campaign, senior Republican lawmakers have steered clear of the conspiracy theory.

@BullRangifer: - you want to choose? and word the actual text? starship.paint (talk) 08:12, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

@BullRangifer:The Haaretz and LA Times pieces are the cherries you're looking for. The Hellinger piece also calls the charge of Russian collusion a conspiracy theory. So you are probably going to want to count that as a non-reliable source, since I assume that you guys don't want to say that RS support the claim that the Mueller investigation was investigating a conspiracy theory. The ABC news source does say that the "ocunus lures" claim (that the FBI investigation of the campaign started all the way back in 2015) is a conspiracy theory, but it does not call Spygate itself a conspiracy theory, and seems to see these two claims (the "ocunus lures" claim and Spygate) as separate claims. Politico is obviously a partisan source. I can't tell what I think about the first source listed; I can't gain access to it. I wish I could get the broader context of the quote you provided. Shinealittlelight (talk) 12:01, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Hmmm, I found the Neville-Shepard article here, and it does not contain the quote you provided. Where did you get that quote? Shinealittlelight (talk) 12:15, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
@Shinealittlelight: - at the top of page 15 on your link. It's a truncated quote, notice the "..." in the middle. starship.paint (talk) 13:45, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Ok, apologies, my search didn't turn that up for some reason. Thanks for pointing it out. I do think that this author is calling Spygate a conspiracy theory. However, he is basing his claim on Rachel Maddow's blog (see his citation), so I wouldn't use it. Shinealittlelight (talk) 13:58, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I would suggest avoiding relying on any sources describing Spygate as a "conspiracy theory" that are from 2018 or older, regardless of the source. Recall that many of these left leaning outlets actually believed that the Trump campaign likely conspired with Russia to influence the election. After that turned out to be false, there has been a sea change in the reporting - which I would suggest is why editors here are going far "back in time" to find these references. And in any case, it is silly and absurd to continue to claim it as a conspiracy theory to doubt that the predication of the Russia investigation was in the clear, when AG Barr has implied many times that it was not, and various reviews, investigations, and criminal referrals are being done on the matter. Wookian (talk) 15:50, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Actually, you've got it backwards. This subject has a specific historical context from May 2018 (describing events which happened in 2016), and it is the sources from May 2018 and before which are the most relevant.
Later sources describe later attempts to expand use of the term Spygate and spying to any and all investigations and surveillance of the Trump campaign. That's a different topic worthy of its own article. Here's a title suggestion: Trump's accusations of "spying" used to undermine Mueller investigation. There are plenty of RS covering that. Go for it. -- BullRangifer (talk) 16:03, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Wookian, I'm aware of no such sea change, but if you have evidence of such a sea change I'd like to learn about it, for WP editing and personal reasons. Please hit me up on my user talk if you're interested. R2 (bleep) 16:18, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I couldn't disagree more with the narrative that "spygate" had a clear narrow meaning to start with, and has been broadened in meaning over time. In fact, as I've repeatedly emphasized (with evidence!), the term was ambiguous from the beginning in RSs, sometimes with a narrow, sometimes a broader meaning. And, from the beginning, lots of RSs framed the discussion along the lines of "Trump has made these unsubstantiated claims, which he is using to cast a negative light on the investigation". This has been a much more common framing than the "conspiracy theory" frame, which to my way of thinking has been cherry picked from the LA Times and Haaretz reports. Shinealittlelight (talk) 16:23, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I think we're talking about different things, and thus "talking past each other." This whole thing is about Trump's original comments and tweets in which he reframed Halper's interactions with three campaign members in a false light.
There are several angles from which RS choose to approach the subject, and the "conspiracy theory" description is one angle, describing how the false aspects created a conspiracy theory with several false elements.
Many sources obviously approach this by describing the central (true) pillar (conspiracy theories are usually built around certain true facts), which is the undeniable fact that there was surveillance, and that's what they deal with, without any analysis of how this was reframed in a false light by Trump.
There is no inherent conflict between these different angles. They are just describing the same thing from different angles. Don't make it so complicated. We aren't in any real disagreement. -- BullRangifer (talk) 17:50, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
If you're right, and there isn't a substantial difference between the two ways of framing (or angles on) the story, it's nevertheless still true that framing is important, and that framing can be more or less neutral, right? And here's how we should choose the frame: we should follow the vast majority of RSs. But that's not conspiracy theory framing. It's the (frankly also partisan, left-leaning, but nevertheless RS-supported) frame that he was just saying this stuff to discredit the Mueller investigation. Shinealittlelight (talk) 18:08, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Motivations are not really relevant. It's a conspiracy theory no matter why it has been spread. O3000 (talk) 18:32, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
There is still no inherent disagreement. Both aspects are true, just seen from different angles, and we should neutrally describe what those RS say. By "neutrally", I'm referring to NPOV, which means that neither the sources nor content need be neutral. It is editors who must be neutral in the way they document what those sources say by not getting in the way, by not creating an artificial balance, and not censoring or whitewashing. I have written a well-sourced essay about this, if you're curious: NPOV means neutral editors, not neutral content. -- BullRangifer (talk) 18:50, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Maybe I agree, I just think we should weight the two aspects based on RS. And that means way less weight to "CT" and way more to the other frame. "CT" is way overweighted relative to RSs. Shinealittlelight (talk) 01:51, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
@Shinealittlelight: - succintly, what is frame 2? False claim? Unsubstantiated claim? Something else? starship.paint (talk) 04:04, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
@Starship.paint: something like "These claims were unsubstantiated, and (critics say) were made to discredit the Mueller investigation." For example, see this framing in AP here: [3]. Sometimes you get attribution to critics, sometimes not. Shinealittlelight (talk) 13:25, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
here is CBS for an example of the same framing but with attribution to "critics". Shinealittlelight (talk) 13:29, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
Can you explain where you see this? Seems to me that article pretty much ridicules Trump’s claims of a “major spy scandal” (their scare quotes). O3000 (talk) 13:41, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
These are news reports from central reliable sources. They aren't ridiculing anything. The framing is obvious and in the first sentences; it isn't hard to find. Shinealittlelight (talk) 14:12, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

─────────────────────────@Shinealittlelight: - I don’t have a problem with Frame 2 if you can find the sources, but my thinking is why not have both Frame 1 and Frame 2? They can both be in the lede. Also, you threw out one academic source because it called Russian collusion a conspiracy theory? Well, going by a dictionary definition of conspiracy theory - a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators - I would say it certainly could be interpreted that Russian collusion is a conspiracy theory. starship.paint (talk) 14:13, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

Sorry Starship.paint, but our article on the general topic of conspiracy theories sources to RS the fact that the term is a pejorative, and of course that's right. Not every theory about a conspiracy is a conspiracy theory in the intended sense. For example, the theory that Alexander the Great was involved in a conspiracy to murder his father is not a conspiracy theory in the sense of this article, even though it is a theory about a conspiracy, and even though it is probably forever unknowable. It's not a conspiracy theory because it's a historically respectable theory, one that historians can reasonably discuss. Not so CS in our sense. Anyway, would you agree that the frames should be weighted in the article according to their prominence in RS? If so, then we are on the same page on that issue, and although I don't have time to do it today, I will try to lay out the sources that I think support frame 2. Shinealittlelight (talk) 16:20, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
@Shinealittlelight: - You're using the Wikipedia article on conspiracy to justify your interpretation of the source. I'm not saying my interpretation is correct, I'm merely saying my interpretation is possible, since the author doesn't explain. In the article body, yes, we should weigh it per RS. Not commenting on the lede or title yet until I see the actual weightage. starship.paint (talk) 23:41, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
No way, not possible in ordinary English. In ordinary speech, CT is X-files kind of stuff. Anyway, on weightage, I agree. I'll review and report when I get a chance. Shinealittlelight (talk) 00:10, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I disagree with Wookian that every source should be from 2019, but I do think it would be a good idea for at least one of them to be from the more recent crop in order to address these sorts of "look what's happened in the meantime" concerns (which I believe are OR, but whatever). As I see it, the leading contenders are GQ, Esquire, and the Independent. I don't particularly care which one we use. Thanks to starship.paint for digging these up. R2 (bleep) 16:32, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Let’s go with The Independent. So now we’re looking at a minimum of LA Times, Haaretz and Independent. How can we word this in the article? starship.paint (talk) 04:01, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
Just wondering if this fits into the scope of this article.[4] The Guardian called Trump’s claim that British intelligence helped the Obama Administration spy on his 2016 campaign a conspiracy theory. O3000 (talk) 13:55, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
More like Donald Trump's accusations of "spying" starship.paint (talk) 14:16, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
I don’t think a source has to use the Safirism “Spygate” to be seen as talking about Spygate. Innumerable articles at the time of Watergate didn’t use that term. O3000 (talk) 14:22, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
In my view, you would be hard pressed to justify not including every single “spy” claim once you allow this. starship.paint (talk) 14:27, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, Trump throws around the term spy with slightly different phrasing. But, it's all the same. It's a conspiracy theory that Obama had the FBI spy on his campaign to help Clinton, with no evidence. It's interesting that some of his critics provide an opinion as to his motives. But, I don't really think that's a needed addition. I think we're trying to get too detailed and the current article is correct. O3000 (talk) 16:34, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I've made a serious proposal above for including material from an investigative journalist (John Solomon) that would reflect what I believe is a needed course correction to this article - i.e. providing some of the background info that leads (the many!) Spygate accusers to believe that the Russia investigation and its related surveillance was improperly predicated. Well, Solomon was shot down for being an "opinion source" even though my proposal was to use his work only for the non-opinion parts of it. Nobody can deny that he deals in original sources, and I haven't seen any serious refutation of the investigative journalism pieces I linked to. Anyway, in the context of that, it is disappointing to see editors above suggest use of opinion pieces out of GQ and Esquire. And not just use of opinion pieces, but specifically use of them to establish the opinion (not fact) that Spygate is a conspiracy theory. Am I missing something here? Is this what is referred to as "wikilawyering" i.e. achieving a non-encyclopedic outcome (partisan opinion elevated over well sourced fact)? Wookian (talk) 21:24, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
No, just a misunderstanding of WP:RS. Please, if you're keen to discuss John Solomon, that discussion is still open above. The GQ and Esquire sources are not opinion pieces, nor is a statement that something is a conspiracy theory an opinion. "Conspiracy theory" is a well-defined term that has a precise meaning, and one can readily distinguish conspiracy theories from other theories without consulting one's personal desires or emotions. R2 (bleep) 21:50, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, Wookian, please realize that RSN consensus has determined that men's fashion magazines and also entertainment magazines who (bizarrely) comment on politics from a left-wing perspective are due to be cited in these sorts of articles, while opinion pieces in the respected political publication The Hill are not to be used, even when attributed, and even when they express a prominent and well-discussed point of view. We must have standards! Shinealittlelight (talk) 22:40, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the laugh, Shinealittlelight. I realize you're being sarcastic and serious at the same time - and that while WP's rules may not be perfect and may not always result in encyclopedic outcomes in the real world, they still have to be followed. It's my understanding, having read through the RS guidelines, that there is no 100% hard prohibition on use of opinion material, and that there would be at least room to cite investigative reporting such as Solomon's with attribution by name, in cases where his/her investigative reporting is widely circulated and clearly regarded as serious journalism (which his certainly is, see frequency on RCP). Nobody has to agree with me, however if there is any serious intent to use the GQ and Esquire pieces, I will take the time to demonstrate why they can be regarded as opinion pieces, because the irony here just perplexes me. Wookian (talk) 01:32, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
True, opinion can be used with attribution normally. However, in Solomon's case, we unpaid, anonymous volunteers with no stated qualifications know better than the editors of The Hill, and the consensus among us is that his opinion cannot be cited, even with attribution. Perhaps if he got a job at a men's fashion magazine, or perhaps in the entertainment media, we could revisit the issue. Shinealittlelight (talk) 02:02, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
There seems to be a disconnect. You guys are getting feedback at RSN, and then you come back here and misrepresent it. No matter...these sorts of complaints divide us, rather than bring us together, and are therefore mildly disruptive. Please stop. If you want to bitch about your fellow editors’ views, please do do elsewhere. R2 (bleep) 02:26, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, I wasn't trying to misrepresent. I was trying to accurately represent the consensus about Solomon. If you think something I said wasn't true, I'd be glad to receive your correction. Shinealittlelight (talk) 02:31, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
On the other hand, I ask you to strike your accusation if you cannot identify a misrepresentation. Shinealittlelight (talk) 02:34, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
If you find it disruptive for editors to suggest a shift in weighting of sources away from edgy entertainment outlets to hard hitting investigative journalism, then perhaps you should take the opportunity to stop, reflect on how we got to this place, and from there how we might improve the article. Asking me to be quiet about these concerns is a non starter. Highlighting a disagreement and making the case for one side is often a step in building consensus, and no one should feel threatened by that process. Wookian (talk) 03:18, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
I don’t. More misrepresentation. R2 (bleep) 04:11, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
From what I see on RSN, it's not that Solomon is rejected due to solely being an opinion author, what the rejections are saying he's an opinion author with no journalistic credibility. starship.paint (talk) 05:16, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── ... and again we've been sidetracked. Can we add the sources above to the article first, then we can have another section on John Solomon, okay? Now let's look again at Haaretz / Los Angeles Times / Independent, we've identified that these are the best sources for the statement that Spygate is a conspiracy theory. Now, how shall this sentence, citing these three sources, be worded? starship.paint (talk) 05:23, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

Right, it is not that he's an opinion author, it's that the anonymous, amateur wikipedia editors here are overruling the professional judgment of the respected, professional editors of The Hill and claiming that Solomon does not deserve even an attributed citation. That's exactly what I said. I haven't misrepresented anything, and R2 should strike his own misrepresentation of me. Shinealittlelight (talk) 10:45, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
@Shinealittlelight: We do respect the judgment of The Hill. If the author has neutral credibility, they would get the benefit of the doubt. But what is being argued is that Solomon has negative credibility. Even the New York Times hired a climate skeptic [5] for their opinion columns. See what turned out. [6] [7] [8]. Solomon may be a former editor and former reporter, but that doesn't mean he automatically has positive or neutral credibility. This guy the NYT hired even won a Pulitzer before. That doesn't mean he can't publish bullshit. starship.paint (talk) 12:08, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Of course we should cite Stephens's NYT opinion pieces, with attribution, if they met other criteria for inclusion. Again, in a contest between the editorial judgment of the NYT and the editorial judgment of the volunteers here at Wikipedia, the NYT should win, obviously. Similarly, on the other side, I'd happily cite Dan Rather's Atlantic opinion piece with attribution, even though I and many others regard him as a disgraced reporter, because I defer to the editors of the Atlantic. I'm probably going to refer to Brian Williams later, despite his foibles, because he continues to work for NBC, and while that mars NBC in my opinion, it isn't enough to regard them as non-RS. (Of course I expect that nobody here would balk at Rather or Williams.) Look, the way this place works, you guys can and have overruled me on this matter. But don't tell me I'm misrepresenting. You members of the consensus against Solomon think you know better than the editors of The Hill when it comes to Solomon. That's your view. And the same editors who want to exclude attributed Solomon citations are eager to cite Men's fashion and entertainment media. I'm highlighting the weirdness of this view, sure, and I certainly think it's embarrassing that this is the consensus. But it's not a misrepresentation. And if anyone who signed on to this view now feels embarrassed, then feel free to change your statement at RSN at any time. Meanwhile, I don't see how we can just ignore the fact that this is where we are, and it isn't a crime on my part to simply state the consensus, embarrassing as it is. Shinealittlelight (talk) 12:24, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

Indy100 vs. Independent[edit]

The first reference in the body of the article is currently a reference to a site called Indy100. See that reference here. There is a short discussion on RSN suggesting that this is not a reliable source and that it is not the same thing as The Independent (which is how it is currently credited in this article). See here for this RSN discussion: [9]. Any thoughts? I wasn't exactly sure how beste to proceed. Shinealittlelight (talk) 23:57, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

Alright... we should replace it then. I'm likely the one who added it, I didn't know it wasn't well received. I'm okay with removing it, then the wiretap allegations can go under Max Boot. starship.paint (talk) 01:51, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I did some research on this. Indy 100 a very borderline publication. I think I place it just barely on the reliable side due to the fact that other reliable sources have cited it positively at least a handful of times. However we have better sources, so if in doubt I agree it should be removed and replaced with something better. R2 (bleep) 03:50, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, I'm not going to fix it; I think that whole opening section is ridiculous. If you're going to replace it with opinion sources, they need to be attributed. The clear consensus at RSN is that Indy100 is unreliable clickbait. I don't think R2's view that it's barely reliable should overturn that consensus; the unreliable clickbait needs to come out asap--remember BLP. Shinealittlelight (talk) 12:09, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I removed it. Just would like to note that in this particular scenario, I don’t think BLP is the right policy to cite because I’m sure there actually are sources out there saying Trump promoted all these conspiracy theories, only that they didn’t link to Spygate, so we won’t include it without a link. starship.paint (talk) 13:38, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, I'll ask a followup question about BLP on your talk page. Shinealittlelight (talk) 14:02, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I don’t think two editors at RSN constitute a clear consensus, nor did I suggest that so-called consensus should be overturned. I agreed with you that the Indy 100 source be removed. A word of advice: don’t pick fights with editors you agree with on content just because you disagree with their reasoning. R2 (bleep) 15:20, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
OK, sorry. Reasonable points. I will try to do better on that. Shinealittlelight (talk) 15:26, 21 May 2019 (UTC)


This article is a train wreck and probably exhibit A as to why Wikipedia isn't equipped to handle breaking political news. The bias here toward the null hypothesis combined with the reliance on aspirationally definitive yet completely out of date sources results in complete garbage. This whole thing should be deleted until U.S. Attorneys John Huber and John Durham release their respective reports. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Deletion can be proposed through the WP:AFD process. R2 (bleep) 03:06, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
I completely agree that this article is garbage and should be deleted.Wcmcdade (talk) 14:40, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
I third that. If not some of its content should be merged with an actual spygate page, or whatever it should be called.Batvette (talk) 22:15, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
The article Trump's accusations of "spying" used to undermine investigations is thataway. Go for it and write the article you want. There you can document all the ways Trump uses the terms "spying" and "Spygate" to undermine the various investigations on him and his campaign's suspicious activities. Remember to use one section to discuss Spygate (conspiracy theory). You can use the lead from here and then leave a "main" hatnote pointing to this article. That's how it's done around here. -- BullRangifer (talk) 23:22, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

@Batvette, Wcmcdade, and - Wikipedia:Articles for deletion#Nominating article(s) for deletion and Donald Trump's accusations of "spying". Here you go. starship.paint (talk)

These guys are just the peanut gallery. R2 (bleep) 23:57, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

John Solomon Part 2[edit]

If you want to include Jon Solomon, it would be helpful to propose the exact text to be inserted in the article citing him. Wookian, you've advocated for him, here's the platform for you. starship.paint (talk) 05:26, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't see how Solomon could be included given the consensus at RSN that, contrary to the editors at The Hill, he is beyond the pale. Again, we have to follow RSN consensus (don't we?), and that consensus favors adding sources like left-leaning men's fashion magazines and left-leaning entertainment news outlets, but not these opinion pieces from The Hill by a former editor of The Washington Times and former AP reporter, even with attribution. We'd have to change that consensus if we wanted to add Solomon. Shinealittlelight (talk) 10:49, 23 May 2019 (UTC)