Tue 14th April 2009, 12:23am
QUOTE(Hell Freezes Over @ Mon 13th April 2009, 5:06pm)
He did ask that it be deleted, but it was kept.
The fact that it was "kept" is completely irrelevant to the discussion, obviously, but the fact that you mention it is somewhat telling...
But for years before that, at least two posters here (HK and Nobs) used Wikipedia as a platform to attack him via his BLP and its talk page, and I don't recall anyone here objecting.
Well I did, sort of
, but it sounded earlier as though you were calling us "hypocrites" for not logging into Wikipedia and defending the guy's article.
That's not something I would ever do, but as for the rest of the membership here, we're not some sort of cyber-vigilante organization (AFAIK). Even if Berlet was someone we actually liked,
which might have been possible if he wasn't being protected by a substantial group of WP admins, that would have been a bit much to ask.
One of the people who was attacking him, and who created the BLP in the first place, is one of only four staff members here.
Well, shame on him, then. Then again, like Rhindle says, if you're going to use him as a source in a highly contentious group of articles, you really should have an article on him, at the very least. Now, if you weren't
using him as a source, maybe I could see it.
He was a published expert on the LaRouche movement and on right-wing extremist groups in general. He should not have been driven off Wikipedia just because a few people decided to use that website and this one to ridicule him. It's very sad that he was given no support here at all, even though you all claim to support expert editors and harassed BLP victims. Berlet was both.
I don't think so. As I recall, most of the "attack" edits to his article were attempts to suggest, if not actually prove, his conflicts of interest with regard to Larouche-related material, and to point out criticism of him by conservative groups. At no time did anyone here (to my knowlege) edit his article to claim or even vaguely suggest that Berlet is, or was, a "pedophile," a "wife-beater," a "faggot," a "child-molester," or that he fathered multiple children out of wedlock with an Albanian prostitute. Those
are the kinds of things we tend to object to around here when it comes to BLP's. I'm not saying the "attack" edits in question were fair, or even factual, but there's just no equivalence for them - beyond the fact that Berlet himself objected to them.
As for him being an expert, let me give you a "hypothetical." Let's say that for the next 25 years, I make a career out of trying to convince the world that US President Barack Obama is an anti-semite, and to do so I not only use innuendo, selective interpretation, and references to "coded phraseology" in obscure Obama speeches that I worked out all by myself, but I also totally ignore
published material written by Obama in which he writes or says things like "anti-semitism is one of the most despicable ideologies in human history." Or, when I don't simply ignore such statements, I dismiss them as "lies" and "rhetorical trickery."
So where am I, after 25 years? Am I considered an "expert on Barack Obama"? Of course not.
I'm considered, quite rightly, a crank, a crackpot, an idiot, maybe even a traitor (if there's any justice). And yet there's no real difference between this and what Berlet has done with Larouche for the last 25 years, except for the fact that nobody likes Larouche, and Larouche doesn't like anybody else either.
Larouche himself is widely considered a crackpot, as we all know. He is, basically, an "easy target," someone nobody cares much for, outside of his immediate circle of followers.
Regardless, the point here isn't that Berlet is dishonest or unethical, or even that he isn't really an "expert" on Lyndon Larouche in the sense that, say, Steven Hawking is an expert on advanced astrophysics, or even that Phil Sandifer is an expert on Doctor Who. I don't think anybody should have the right to demand that "experts" on them be impartial, though it would be nice if they were. The point is that Wikipedia ought to be able to discern whether or not any given expert is impartial, and if he isn't, don't let him control the articles in question.
That didn't happen in this case.