Talk:Barack Obama: U.S. presidential election, 2008/Controversy

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Bias and Inappropriateness

Excuse me, but I must object to these articles. Artificial Intelligence has created two pages of supposed controversies surrounding Barack Obama. It doesn't look like all the 2008 candidates have received this treatment, and considering Artificial Intelligence's posting [[1]], it seems obvious that there is strong bias.

More importantly, most of these supposed controversies seem to be trivial, small gossip, and largely irrelevant. Whatever benefit could possibly be achieved by this conglomeration of links to various people (and the question must be asked why any of these sources deserve attention), there is an obvious one-sidedness to these articles. Moogle001 13:55, 20 July 2007 (EDT)

Objection noted .... however
Your opinion is always welcome at SourceWatch. I would like to address your concerns.
First of all, the fact that there are two pages of "supposed controversies surrounding Barack Obama" is a housekeeping issue. We must separate material into pages based on page length and the amount of data visitors' computers can download in a timely fashion.
Not only do all candidates have controversy sections (or pages, depending on how much other material or how many sections appear in an article), but "Controversy" is a standard section title used throughout SourceWatch and appears for nearly every politician in the Congresspedia.
The amount of "Controversy" presented is proportionate to the amount "available" and the time and interest of individual contributors. Most of us are volunteers and there is no requirement that if we address "Controversy" for one article (or subject or politician or candidate) that we have to do the same for all related articles. As a practical matter, it is just not possible.
During the 2004 presidential campaign, for example, the number of pages of controversial material on John Kerry seemed to build endlessly. As we get closer to next's year's primary and general election, you can anticipate that the same may well happen again.
On the issue of bias, SW is not the Wikipedia. We do not hold the same NPOV standard. By its very nature, SW is critical and we freely admit bias to a degree. If you will take the time to read our Help pages for Newcomers, you will find
"Rather than using the terminology of 'objectivity' or a 'neutral point of view,' we prefer the concepts of 'fairness and accuracy.'"
We have strict referencing rules in SW/CP. Nothing we post or write is unsupported by documentation and references. What we write is not always from any personal bias but more a reflection of what is expressed by others. We attempt to address both sides regardless of our own personal take on an issue.
If you follow the external articles section at the bottom of each article, you will find many varying opinions expressed. As a visitor, you are encouraged to continue reading beyond what is expressed or summarized in a SW/CP article.
For example, my personal bias is against corruption and what I call phoniness ... FYI SW is known for attacking those who ARE fake, like the fake news organizations ... and I WILL go after phoniness or fakeness with a vengeance. No apologies. It's my bias.
The good thing about SW/CP, is if you find that something is not factual and not supported by documentation or references, then you are welcome to make corrections. However, you must explain your changes to factual information on the corresponding Talk page. If you do not, your alterations will be removed and the article will be reverted to its original state.
You are always encouraged, as well, to add an opposing opinion within the article, making sure to identify it and liberally document and reference it. Alternatively, you are encouraged to create a new article with a totally different "bias", should you like to do so.
As for whether the references we cite at SW/CP deserve attention, the answer is an easy one. As someone who used to reside in Florida, the "Sunshine State", I learned to appreciate the concept of airing all information in the sunshine. It is a natural purifier.
I hope this at least addresses your concerns although I doubt that it will in any way alter your opinion. Artificial Intelligence 05:34, 21 July 2007 (EDT)
My Perspective
Thank you for responding to my post in such a polite manner. I recognize that perhaps our differences may have more to do with style than bias, but there are some matters I still wish to discuss.
I recognize that there is no responsibility for contributors to work evenly on all related articles, and of course we all have our own biases. However, the dislike that you expressed for Barack, seemingly without provocation, coupled with the large collection of links to articles attacking him that you gathered, gave me the impression that you were using this wiki as a forum to attack him, which I would consider inappropriate. Particularly when Barack appears to be the only candidate to have so much controversy attached to his name, and you alone are the primary contributor to the article.
While I sympathize with the "sunshine" perspective, I don't believe that cause is served by grabbing weekly opinions from random blogs and papers. Political pundits and columnists ramble on and on every day about candidates, some of it insightful but a lot of it BS. Attaching it to Congresspedia is elevating it to a status that it does not necessarily deserve.
For instance, after reading through the links relating to fuel efficiency, 6 out of 10 usuable links (one was dead, another went to a registration site) had readily apparent conservative bias and were more interested in finding hypocrisy than truth. What's more, they were mostly very short and repeating one another, adding little to the article by being referenced. There were two or three adding more insight into the subject, but out of the 10 links only one was making any attempt to defend Barack. It does not convey the impression that "fairness or accuracy" is being sought. This section, at least, would be much better served by a paragraph summarizing the controversy and a small number of links to articles that provide real depth, instead of bloggers sniping at Barack. It could also mention that Barack traded in his Hemi for a hybrid.
But this brings up the more important question of "what merits attention"? Many people would argue that what Barack drove doesn't mean much compared to what his plans are. I imagine you would disagree with that, and I can understand that sentiment, but some context would probably be appropriate. I think this matter would provide greater perspective if Barack's apparent hypocrisy was coupled with his energy policy stance (in other words, not separating the controversy from the stuff in the main article). You may argue that that would lead to article bloat, but I think if you stuck to the essential links it wouldn't be a big deal.
Returning to the point of merit, though, I wanted to bring up the homosexuality section. This is the definition of a minor misstep, one both Hillary and Barack moved to correct. Does this "controversy" call into question their stance on homosexuality? No. Does it show that they're trying to play the political game, not always well? Certainly. But does every time a special interest group is dissatisfied with the "speed" of a candidates response deserve to be recognized? I know people on both sides like to mock the small mistakes and harp on them endlessly, but I feel that a wiki such as this should be held to a higher standard and not repeat just anything. At the absolute very least the section should be titled more clearly, such as "hesitation to state view on homosexuality", but I question whether the issue should be included at all.
There does appear to be a difference between us as to what should be included in a wiki such as this. That's probably not going to change, but I hope I have explained my viewpoint, and I would encourage you to focus more on summarizing an issue in a fair manner and provided important links instead of compiling lengthy list of lists that may provide more passion and less fact. Thank you for reading this. Moogle001 16:15, 23 July 2007 (EDT)
The solution, if I may, is to participate
Moogle001- Thank you for your interest in our articles about Barack Obama's presidential run. While you certainly raise some good points about giving a more balanced take on these controversies, Artificial Intelligence is absolutely right that on SourceWatch we don't require editors to make "balanced" or "neutral" contributions and are not required to research all the sides of an issue.
What we do depend on, is other editors to show up and provide that balance. AI's contributions here are all fully sourced. If you'd like to provide some more balance or context, may I suggest you add that content yourself.
For example, you found a link to a story about Obama trading in his Hemi for a hybrid. Why not go into the article and add that information and your source to that section? In the homosexuality section, if you don't believe this reflects Obama's positions on gay rights, why not go find information like, say, his scorecard rating from the Human Rights Campaign (which was 89% positive) and add that to the section?
If I can do anything to assist you please don't hesitate to leave a note on my talk page or send me an email at Conoremail.png. Cheers--Conor Kenny 16:17, 28 July 2007 (EDT)!