Talk:Vince Foster

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This article, and this talk page, is about the life and general biography of Vince Foster.

Theories of Foster's death go into Death of Vince Foster, and discussion of their editing into Talk:Death of Vince Foster.

An archive of this talk page's discussions on his death, before the split was done, is here.


I accidentally created a Vincent Foster article, which overlaps with Vince Foster. I suggest the 2 articles be consolidated into one article with a REDIRECT from the other.

Which form of his name is better for the article, Vincent or Vince? Ed Poor [09:13, 1 May 2002]

I don't think I've ever seen "Vincent" in any newspaper headline I remember. I clearly remember the news anchors calling him "Vince" pretty exclusively. --LDC [09:49, 1 May 2002 Lee Daniel Crocker]

Bar Exam Results[edit]

Is there any way of getting a hold of Vince Foster's bar exam, now that he's dead? Surely the results still exist, unless passing the bar is mostly a matter of getting a pat on the shoulder, and then any evidence to the contrary, or that he was unfit to practice law, is immediately destroyed?

Set up an "Early Life" section stating Foster acheived the highest bar exam results of his class. Because the reference material is so vague, I cannot say for certain whether or not the bar exam results reflected the highest in AR history or just his class so I have elected to go with the latter. The section will be expanded as I add more information on Foster's relationship with his mother, wife and children, as well as his initial meeting with Bill Clinton and later dealings with Hillary Clinton at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock. --BadMojoDE 01:07, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

In reference to his bar exam score, the reference is a congressional speech, reading from a newspaper account. While the accuracy of the reading could be questioned (we all make mistakes when reading aloud), but what was recorded is this:

...He graduated first in his class in law school at Fayetteville. He made the highest score on the Arkansas bar exam...

I wonder if the statement means that he made a perfect score (highest score possible). Is this even possible/plausible? --Leatherwing 19:42, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

Although the article generally is pretty good, and remarkably fair for one of a political figure, somebody could delve into the question of avoiding the draft by slipping into a reserve component (which generally you had to have some influence to do because so many boys were doing that) as a departure to what is later described as Foster's ultra-high ethics. Would a person with extremely high ethics dodge the draft while knowing some other boy, with less money and less brainpower than Foster had, would have to serve in his stead? In other words, the article sets out a sort of internal ethical dichotomy which it doesn't resolve. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:37, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

New Bernstein source[edit]

This is an excerpt from Carl Bernstein's new book on Hillary, printed in the Sunday Times. This piece deals specifically with Foster.

  • Bernstein, Carl (2007-06-03). "Her other man". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2007-06-03. 

- Crockspot 17:12, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Proposal to split off much of article[edit]

This article is badly out of balance, with little on Foster's life and accomplishments and much on speculation about his death. The latter material should be split into a separate article, Death of Vince Foster, similar to some of the other articles that are found in Category:Deaths by person. Then more can be done on Foster himself, without getting caught up in edit battles among theorists. Wasted Time R 19:14, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Seeing no objections, I have done this. Wasted Time R 11:52, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, Wasted Time. I think that's a great improvement. Along those lines, is it POV to say in the opening lines of the article, "Foster committed suicide in Fort Marcy Park in Virginia" or something of that nature instead of the cryptic line that's there now (his death was ruled a suicide, but...)? (talk) 02:43, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Citation needed[edit]

"He was the target of several hostile Wall Street Journal editorials."

A reference to such an accessible primary source should have a citation.

Wasted Time, your idea to split the articles was brilliant. You are a Wiki-visionary, but will you do the grunt work of digging up an old citation? The Wiki community depends on it.

User:Cuong:Cuong 12:49, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

Citations added and section expanded somewhat. Wasted Time R 14:31, 16 November 2007 (UTC) references[edit]

I've removed 3 references to a article. is not a reliable source, and while it may belong in the external links section of articles, it can't be used to source our articles. --Xyzzyplugh (talk) 19:31, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Where is[edit]

<death theories elided> Erectile Dysfunctional (talk) 13:39, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Your theories belong in Death of Vince Foster. This article is about his life. Wasted Time R (talk) 13:48, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
That rationale is absurd, since it is highly arguable that THE most historically significant aspect of Vince Foster's life is the curious circumstances of his death.--Mike18xx (talk) 10:04, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

No, the most significant aspect is how the pressures of the Washington political arena got to an Arkansas lawyer and caused him to fall into depression and suicide.Wasted Time R (talk) 11:13, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Especially the part where, in a fit of anxiety, he manages to get himself smuggled out of the White House in a carpeted car trunk past all the cameras whose tapes are later missing, then shoot himself simultaneously with two different caliber bullets (Dr. Haut's original pre-"doctored" autopsy) from missing guns (first paramedics swear no gun present) while somehow managing to keep his head from exploding like a overripe melon (consult your favorite R. Budd Dwyer Youtube video for what happens in a "mouth-shot"), then toss his glasses nineteen feet away before cleaning his suit, pants, shirt, shoes, gun of all but microscopic traces of either "blow-back" spoo or park trail dirt, and also makes his car and car keys all disappear prior to phoning Hillary to rush in and commit felony evidence-tampering by ransacking his office. mean that?-- (talk) 15:12, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

--In any case, to avoid this article getting overwhelmed by theories about his death, we have the Death of Vince Foster article (which subsequently got renamed by others to Suicide of Vince Foster).Wasted Time R (talk) 11:13, 13 January 2011 (UTC).

Of course; because that's the way propaganda works: compartmentalize and segregate "damage", and brazenly BS with a straight face.-- (talk) 14:46, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

This article is about his life. Consider it the answer to the famous Wall Street Journal question, "Who is Vincent Foster?"Wasted Time R (talk) 11:13, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Ooo! Ooo! Teacher, pick me! He's the Arkansas Mafia dirty-books guy who, the day after the hit to keep his gonna-sing yap shut, old Clinton Arky campaign manager Jerry Parks sees it on the news and immediately announces, "I'm a dead man!" (Two months later, Jerry is hosed down with machinegun-fire by a shooter-driver team in broad daylight on the street in Little Rock. Fancy that, huh?)-- (talk) 14:46, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

More importantly, this is how Wikipedia generally treats this kind of thing.Wasted Time R (talk) 11:13, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

"this sort of thing" merely being rote euphemism for "conspiracy theory" self-reinforcing circular-logic fallacy in which "official" (are there any other kind?) government reports are the ultimate trump card over any countervailing analysis, such as the conclusions of the lead investigator who quit when it became clear the "report" was going to be a mass of obfuscation and outright lying.
While I'm sure various crank websites eagerly conflate all conspiracies as general paranoia grist, the disparate examples of 9/11 and the "Foster whack-job" could not be more different. I.e., various WTC "bomb" theories are rendered laughably absurd simply by viewing video of the towers burning with gutted, already-collapsing interiors before temperature-fatigued exoskeletons failed (what kind of demolition charges can survive being broiled in an inferno for an hour? 0_o) -- whereas submitting almost any aspect of the Foster situation to the most rudimentary tests of forensics leads a rational analyst to the conclusion that he could not have died how/why/where the way the various reports claim he died.-- (talk) 14:46, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

For example, the September 11 attacks article is written stating as fact, as confirmed by multiple official government investigations, that al-Qaeda perpetuated the attacks. There is only a brief mention of conspiracy theories and a link to the 9/11 conspiracy theories articles. Those theories are restricted to being described there, and people who try to introduce them into the main September 11 article are reverted. The same principle is being used here. You object to use of the term "conspiracy theory" in this case, but when multiple official investigations all reach the same conclusion, especially one in which it would have been politically convenient for the investigator (Starr) to do otherwise, and opponents to the conclusion allege "a widespread cover-up" (your words re Rodriguez), Wasted Time R (talk) 11:13, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

(Emphasis mine.) Rodriguez. The actual investigator. The lead investigator. Hired by Starr. Who quit. Because "the fix was in". -- But that's not a story because, well, um, "official reports" turn people's brains off. Bzzyooomp. Welcome to The Endarkenment. Say, did you hear about that silly intern in the blue dress with the kneepads? Yeah; let's talk about that for a year and a half up to the Lying Bastard's impeachment instead of anything important; because that's the way "fall-back propaganda" works -- and also because the FCC will lean on the president of NBC to fire our impudent Norm McDonald asses if we joke too much about or question the wrong stuff -- and we got our phony-baloney jobs to protect in the era before camera-phones catch everything and web-media eclipses anything a hairy-knuckle squad can hope to keep a lid on. So, "off-limits" circa 1997, and better put-some-ice-on-that, kiddo.-- (talk) 14:46, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

...that's pretty much the definition of a conspiracy theory. Accordingly, I'm reverting back your changes here. Wasted Time R (talk) 11:13, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia, your source for "official reports". Open wide. Cramming speed!
For the rest of us, there's Failure of the the Public Trust: -- (talk) 14:46, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Emphasis undone (don't change other people's posts, no matter how much you disagree with them). The simple reality is that Wikipedia as a whole likes mainstream sources and official findings and frowns on alternative sources and conspiracy theories. This is true of Wikipedia's rules, guidelines, culture, most experienced editors, etc. This reality is endless frustrating to conspiracy theorists, but it isn't going to change. And once again, this particular article and talk page is primarily about the life of Vince Foster. Wasted Time R (talk) 01:38, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
I reject the unstated yet implicit premise that anything pigeonholed as a "conspiracy theory" (i.e., as opposed to "documented conspiracy") is out there with the UFOs and the Loch Ness Monster. Kenneth Starr says "Suicide" while Starr's lead investigator says "Bullshit!", yet that investigator and various primary witnesses are considered "non-notable", and hence Wikipedia won't grant them the time of day. In a grand display of intelligence-insulting chutzpah, no less than three Wikipedia pages (this one, "Suicide of", and Starr's, all trumpet the most manifest lie of the last quarter-century.
"The fact of the matter is that all sources of information are not of equal value, and I don't know how or when it became impolitic to suggest it. In opposition to the spirit of Wikipedia, I believe there is such a thing as expertise. "' -- "Tycho", PennyArcade, -- (talk) 03:08, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Attempted censorship via spurious assertion of WP:RS and intimidation of editors[edit]

Regarding continual attempts to expunge any and all references to a very large mass of opposition the Fiske and Starr conclusions with a single throw-away "conspiracy theorists" line, I relay the following from my talk page:

This is your last warning; the next time you add non-reliably-sourced material, as you did at Ken Starr, Vince Foster, and Suicide of Vince Foster, you may be blocked from editing without further notice. "Failure of the Public Trust" is self-published, and neither World Net Daily nor AIM are reliable sources. Please, read WP:RS, WP:SPS, WP:NEWSORG, and WP:SOURCES. (I note from your previous blocks that you're already aware of WP:3RR.) AV3000 (talk) 00:13, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Av3000, would it be possible for you and I to have an intelligent conversation -- or must it proceed straightaway to histrionic spasms of dire, impending doom delivered at the edict of Big Cheeses wielding Olympian power? Several points:
1) The matter of WND is not as cut-and-dried as I imagine you would like the casual browser of this user-talk page to instantly surmise. For example, the summation of your link to the WND noticeboard is, quoting, with weasel words bold-faced by me: "Consensus appears to be that World Net Daily is not generally acceptable as a source for factual material....
-- The weasel words indicate a LACK of clear consensus, while the following: "...individual citation(s) evidencing WND "unreliability" have not, thus far, been provided. As to whether or under what criteria/circumstance WND might be considered WP:RS, opinion is divided.}" explicitly CONFIRMS a lack of consensus.
2) You have not provided any backing to maintain that AIM is NRS either -- for the sake of argument, I shall assume that a page exists within the Byzantine depths of the Noticeboard, but will also assume that it is just as ambiguous and shot full of self-contradictions, weasel words, and completely unveiled bad motives as the WND one.
3) Miquel Rodriguez is more than a reliable source -- he is, in fact, a primary source; it is not possible for you to logically maintain that the direct audio commentary of Kenneth Starr's former lead investigator in the Foster death is not pertinent because it is hosted by AIM -- unless you're maintaining that it's faked or distorted in some way. -- Are you?
4) Similarly, the FOIA lawsuit (which went all the way to the Supreme Court) by attorney Allen Favish is, by definition, noteworthy. With the lawsuit's author rendered noteworthy on the subject material, then any media organ directly quoting him must also be regarded as reliable (if only situationally) -- unless, once again, you're maintaining that they're lying -- and I do not believe you are prepared to insist upon such.
5) Regarding Failure of the Public Trust -- Patrick J. Knowlton, a primary witness in Fort Marcy Park, is by definition noteworthy and a reputable source of his own disagreement with factual statements asserted in the Starr Report, as is, by subsequent logical extension, his other written commentary on the subject (he shares author credit of Failure of the Public Trust with his attorney John Clarke and researcher Hugh Turley), in re: WP:SPS "....Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." -- The FBI, which interviewed him, and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which heard Knowlton's case for submission of an "Addendum" to the Starr Report, qualify in conferring notability.
6) The proper place for this discussion is the talk pages of the articles themselves.--Mike18xx (talk) 08:28, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
As stated in the previous section, discussion about this belongs with the Death of Vince Foster article, not here. Wasted Time R (talk) 11:17, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
And as stated you are wrong and are violating policy with your censorship

If someone has much time can this information be added[edit]

For instance that there was no blood on his hand and the gun, so it could not really have been a suicide. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:16, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Take it to Death of Vince Foster. Wasted Time R (talk) 11:45, 12 November 2011 (UTC)

"Wrestled With Clinical Depression"???????[edit]

I'm no expert on this case but the term "clinical depression" has a specific definition. Can anybody produce information proving that Foster was diagnosed with depression? If not then this statement needs to be removed.BoyintheMachine (talk) 01:08, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

You're right that this needs clarification. Foster was generally seen as being depressed, by himself and others, and was started on an anti-depressant. See this NYT account and this WaPo story. But the assessment of clinical depression came after his death; see this section of the Starr report, which says things like "an evident clinical depression" and "[t]here is little doubt that Foster was clinically depressed". I've modified the article text to incorporate this clarification. Wasted Time R (talk) 03:13, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
The gun was so depressed that it changed color. <bronx cheer>--Mike18xx (talk) 11:24, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
And went temporarily invisible, like the car keys.-- (talk) 15:09, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

"Subsequent investigations" section[edit]

This section list five investigations but says "three". Were two of them unofficial in some sense, or should the "three" be changed to a "five"? (talk) 09:02, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

Now clarified. (talk) 16:42, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

Investigations after crime scene is destroyed and after evidence chain is broken become speculation at best. Congressional investigations have no weight in public opinion.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Longinus876 (talkcontribs)

Undue weight in lead[edit]

It seems to me that the following sentences in the lead strongly imply that there was a cover up about his suicide:

'At the White House he was unhappy with work in politics and spiraled into depression. According to official sources he committed suicide. However, his suicide remains disputed by several theories.'

This seems to be placing undue weight on dubious conspiracy theories when there are a large number of reliable sources stating he commited suicide. I suggest the above sentences are replaced with the following:

'At the White House he was unhappy with work in politics and spiralled into depression, which subsequently ended in his suicide.'

-- Wgsimon (talk) 15:57, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

Hilarious style[edit]

The lead right now reads like "Vince committed suicide AND FIVE GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATIONS CONFIRMED IT." This is an oviously poor scrubbing of an strong controversy. Why did five investigations need to be done? --Nanite (talk) 13:57, 20 October 2016 (UTC)

Because the American public is prone to conspiracy theories and the American political class is prone to exploiting personal tragedies for partisan gain. 2600:1001:B121:81F5:A1A3:5399:6E7A:C50B (talk) 03:49, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
I don't think wikipedia's job is to control public opinion. The fact that there *were* many conspiracy theories is certainly worth mentioning, no? How about this for example:
At the White House he was unhappy with work in politics and spiraled into depression, and was found dead on July 20. Amid claims by right-wing organizations that Foster had been murdered, five official or governmental investigations all concluded that he committed suicide. Since his death, awards and honors have been named after Foster to validate his contributions to the Arkansas legal profession.
--Nanite (talk) 09:23, 21 October 2016 (UTC)
The idea behind this article has always been that it would cover Foster's life, which too often gets overlooked, and would give a brief summary of the mainstream, official findings regarding his death. Then there is a separate Death of Vince Foster article which can get into all the details and theories about that. What the lead of this article should indicate about that has always been problematic, and the wordings have frequently been changed. But your suggestion doesn't quite work, because there are really three groups here:
  • Conspiracy theorists of all ideological stripes, who invariably believe that any government official who dies unexpectedly was in fact killed by sinister forces in order to keep him or her from revealing some terrible truth;
  • Professional Clinton haters, who may or may not actually believe in alternate theories but find Foster's death a useful stick to bash the Clintons with; and
  • everyone else, who realize that sometimes life goes sideways and pressures build up and (to quote a U2 song) people get stuck in a moment that they can't get out of.
So your 'right-wing organizations' is an oversimplication. Wasted Time R (talk) 20:10, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
OK, fair enough, then how about simply this, if it is factually established then no need to mention investigations in the lead, just focus on his life:
At the White House he was unhappy with work in politics and spiraled into depression, and committed suicide. Since his death, awards and honors have been named after Foster to validate his contributions to the Arkansas legal profession.
My point is, if the article goes out of its way to emphasize, in the lead, that FIVE investigations were done to confirm suicide, then this just sounds bizarre because this is extremely unusual number of investigations and mentioning it only raises eyebrows. It currently reads like someone is trying to over-forcefully establish this one fact (whereas all other facts in the lead have no government investigations behind them).
In other words, it reads like a counter-point is being made, but it is not stated what is actually being countered. --Nanite (talk) 22:58, 22 October 2016 (UTC)
I understand what you are saying and you make a valid point. I have no objection to your formulation, but my guess is it won't get left alone for long. Wasted Time R (talk) 01:39, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

"neighbor and friend of Bill Clinton for the first eight years of his life"?[edit]

Since Bill Clinton was 1.5 years his junior, and moved away sometime in 1950 (per Bill Clinton's page), Foster could only have known Clinton for approx. 4 of his first five years. if you can ascertain exactly when Clinton moved, you can make a more accurate statement of how long they knew each other, but eight is certainly wrong. Login54321 (talk) 21:28, 18 July 2017 (UTC)

The Bill Clinton article is wrong – he moved to a different part of Hope in 1950 but he didn't move to Hot Springs until late 1952 or 1953. And he continued to visit his grandparents in Hope after that. So it's not really possible to say exactly how long he and Foster knew each other back then. I have expanded this part of this article to give a better idea of the circumstances back then. Wasted Time R (talk) 10:33, 26 July 2017 (UTC)