Talk:Duncan L. Hunter

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March 4-5, 2007; Controversial staff on presidential campaign

I removed the section on Hunter's controversial appointments because the original entry sourced an extremist blog, which was chocked full of profanity. I have been unable to verify any of the information with additional sources, but will continue to research this topic.James Cudahy, March 4, 2007

I have re-instated the deleted section. The original version included referenced links to an Associated Press article published in the Wilmington Star. This was then referred to and discussed in a post at the The Carpetbagger Report. I page that is linked does isn't "chocked full of profanity" as claimed by James. --Bob Burton 16:56, 4 March 2007 (EST)

The Associated Press link still doesn't go anywhere. The other link to "Carpet Bagger Report" does. I think the following qualify as profanity:
“F****** Up Nationalist Dumb Yokel”
"Dear. Mr. Jordan, We’re sorry you’re a flaming d***head."
"F*** ‘em"
Need I go on?
Furthermore, The Carpetbagger Report is written by Steve Benen, a freelance writer with no accountability. There are no sources referenced in this article and I cannot find any sources to confirm what he claims. As I stated before, I will continue to research this topic, but in light of what I have said here, I am removing it until a more reliable source is found. --James Cudahy, 19:53, March 4, 2007

I have replaced the section "Controversial Campaign Staff Appointments". I was able to source and reference the original AP article that was unavailable at the original link. I also reference the most recent AP release on this issue. --James Cudahy, 21:35, March 4, 2007

James: I have re-instated the previous version once more with a few minor tweaks and a change of the reference links.
  • While I disagree with your objections to the citation of Steve Benen piece (it deson't matter whether he is a freelancer or not; the comments you cite were not in his post but in the comments and he was reasonably specific about the source of his comments). Irrespective of this, the comments cited were also reported in "Official Rejects Non-Christians," Washington Post, May 17, 1997, Section A, p. A02, Final Edition (which is not available on line except via Nexis).
  • Your revised version provided a very truncated version on the background to the controversy;
  • Hunter did not "immediately" dismiss Henry Jordan and Lois Eargle; as you indicated it was over a week later; as such it is better explained at the end of the section.
  • Yes Eargle said she was misquoted, but the later AP story disproves that based on a tape of the interview;
  • I added a better link than the wistv version of the AP story you posted; the wistv version chopped a few pars from the originial story.
I think that's the lot. --Bob Burton 04:25, 5 March 2007 (EST)

Bob, I agree with much of what you have here, but still found some changes necessary to balance out a slightly biased tone to the entry.
  • I left the Washington Post reference in tact. Although you and I obviously have access, I think cited references should be accessible (and free) to any Congresspedia user. "Nexis Ala Cart" is available to anyone who is curious about the full content of the article.
  • There is no source cited for this sentence: “After another member expressed concern for non-Christian students Jordan said, "Screw the Buddhists..." so I have left it out again.
  • I added the March 2, 2007 AP Press Release back in as a reference as it is the official release regarding the dismissal of both advisers.
  • I removed "controversial" from the opening paragraph because the appointments were not controversial until the story broke.
  • I put the AP dismissal release back in the opening paragraph as it is important to recognize the response time of Hunter on this issue and that it has been resolved. Leaving it out creates a biased read.
--James Cudahy, 13:52, March 5, 2007

March 12, 2007; earmarks

I removed a clearly biased section of the entry on earmarks. The sources referenced in this section were “Inside the Navy”, which is not accessible to be verified or reviewed for bias, and POGO, which is an obviously biased left-wing blog trying to present a shady connection between Hunter and Titan Corp. Titan Corp is a southern California based firm...Hunter is an elected Representative of southern California...It is not at all unusual for a Congressman to acknowledge and even promote firms with breakthrough technology in his/her own constituency. As part of the earmarking process, members of Congress submit funding initiatives that are important to their districts, states, and to the nation. It is highly unusual for a member of Congress to make these initiative public, so I expanded the description of each point in the list to reflect the nature of the proposed funding. --James Cudahy 21:47, 12 March 2007

April 26-May 8, 2007; Military and intelligence matters

James Cudahy, I altered the language of some of your recent edits a bit. Some of the information you removed was properly sourced content, and I felt as though it should remain on the page. In other cases, I noted in the text that an assertion was just that, and not a fact from a non-biased media source. I left the additions/changes you made to Hunter's biography, but much of it still requires a source. It would be helpful if you could add appropriate links to sources. Thanks.

--Elliott Fullmer, 12:45 EST, 4/26/2007, Associate Managing Editor

Elliott Fullmer, thank you for your notes about the edits and deletions you made to the article. Your mention of needing "non-biased media sources" is exactly what I am constantly battling in these articles. I reference multiple sources in most of my edits because there is usually much bias to comb through before the facts can be obtained and presented in an un-biased manner. Many times, I list the source that appears the most accurate as it compares with other sources - when the information overlaps properly. I will address your concerns and edits in each section as I have time to go back and list additional sources. I spent a lot of time checking and double-checking sources and cross-referencing different media. I would have rathered this discussion have started here. I will always be pleased to provide additional sources.
To address your concern that some of the information in this section should be removed for being "assertion" and not "fact from a non-biased media source", I have added additional sources to back up the original sources. You also removed "In an unprecedented release"...this I will replace with a paraphrase of the phrase used by the Washington Post: "Breaking a tradition of keeping such wish lists secret".
I found it so odd that you reinstated an older version of this section while it's leading sentence is clearly unsourced and rings an "opinion" tone. I reposted the latter version with a minor change to the leading sentence: replacing "was not involved" with a neutral and sustainable "has not been implicated". The rest of the content remains in tact as it was in both versions, with the slight reformatting use of bullets, which seem to better organize the information into a more readable format.
I'll keep working on this as I have occasion. Thanks again.
--James Cudahy, 23:29 CST, 5/01/2007

I removed this section for the following reasons:
1. In keeping with the presumed point of Source Watch, and as Elliot Fullmer re-asserted below...this article should only contain "fact from a non-biased media source". The Project on Government Oversight is clearly not "non-biased" and is a blog.
2. "suffered from the publicity..." This is a subjective statement that is not supported by any facts in the article. It is clear that Titan Corp (L3 Communications) has not suffered financially, or by issue of reputation, as a result that two out of hundreds of the interpretors sent to Iraq were implicated in mistreatment allegations.
3. "Titan Corp served as interrogators"...Actually, Titan sent interpretors, not interrogators, further removing them from a frontline position for abuse allegations.
4. "This chain of events has led the Project on Government Oversight to question the role of Hunter's ties to the Defense Department"...Hu? There is no factual corroboration of any assertion, much less fact, in this blog to suggest Hunter has any connection to or influence over any of these events. This is ridiculous. Hunter sits on the House Armed Services Committee. Of course he is involved with the Defense Department. To tie him to some alleged misconsuct or abuse by a couple of employees of one of the largest defense contractors in the world? I would assume that Source Watch would want a lot more evidence cited, sourced, and confirmed before making such damaging and far-fetched accusations.
-James Cudahy, 16:35 CST, 5/07/2007

I reverted your deletion because you removed referenced information. And while you seem to have a problem with POGO as a source, POGO is referenced w/r/t questions they raised. I don't understand how the fact that they raised questions could be in contention.
--Diane Farsetta 18:31, 7 May 2007 (EDT)

First please note that I reorganized the main article for clarity.
I have carefully gone back through the sourcing in the "Titan Corp" and "Ties to Pentagon official" sections. I have removed extraneous information and leading language to keep just the documented facts. POGO was the main source for those sections and when they were characterizing something or offering their opinion I tried to quote them directly and note the source. POGO is generally recognized as a respected and knowledgeable source on contracting and government oversight and their stated opinions are useful to this article as long as they are referenced as such. Elliott was right in that we generally want statements of fact to come from unbiased media sources, but watchdogs like POGO often produce quality original reporting and we need to not exclude their information from SourceWatch if we are reasonably certain of its reliability. They may have an agenda, but that can often be separated out from the facts they uncover. I will try to address this issue more clearly in a revision of the referencing policy.
The remaining content is relevant in that it documents the ties of Hunter to a government official he has oversight on and a corporation involved in a matter (Abu Ghraib) he also had oversight on. I have tried to remove any innuendo about impropriety and leave just the facts and the quoted opinions from respected sources.
I ask that anyone who wants to further edit these sections, especially if they want to remove content, carefully explain their reasons on this discussion page. I generally consider the controversy over these two sections to be closed unless someone can come up with good counter-points. James Cudahy, many of your edits have greatly enhanced this page and I hope we can work collaboratively to give the best picture of what Hunter has been doing in Washington.--Conor Kenny 12:20, 8 May 2007 (EDT)
Conor Kenny, Thank you for your comments about the article. I am still not comfortable with these two sections being fully sourced by POGO. I am working on finding additional sources to balance the opinions of Jason Vest, or facts to counter them. Some of my concerns are regarding the following:
I have not found anywhere in the Rules of Congress that a financial disclosure must reference an associate's or partner's affiliations. Concerning POGO's assertion that "Hunter's financial disclosure lists Geren's name but made no mention of Geren's Defense Department affiliation and Geren's disclosures simply referred to the "Hunter/Geren partnership"; this is not strange or circumventive in any way on the part of either Hunter or Geren. Stating it this way suggests that this is somehow underhanded or sneaky, and it is not. That fact that both list this partnership despite their affiliations should signal that both parties are being appropriately forthcoming.
Opensecrets has Hunter's financial disclosure, but not Geren's. I will get a copy of Geren's to verify and source.
I am checking the oversight responsibilities of the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee as they relate to the positions that Geren has held. The article currently suggests that Hunter had oversight of Geren while he has served as Under Secretary of the Army...
There are some quotes that this section should include about Hunter's specific statements as they relate to the Abu Ghraib investigations. What POGO is sourcing here as Hunter's dismissiveness calls on accusations made by Senator Kennedy, which should be directly sourced as such. These accusations have never gathered any momentum against Hunter and should be properly balanced with another perspective of his role in the investigations.
The article leaves out the important fact that Hunter and Geren served on the House Armed Services Committee together in 1995-1996. Their relationship probably isn't exactly snuggling up to a Defense Department official. They knew each other long before Geren left Congress.
In summary, I will continue to work on these sections and try to bring some balance. In general, I do not think that POGO should be used as a source unless there is an additional source to back up some of their accusations and opinions - other than the San Diego Tribune, which seems to get the facts jumbled up especially well with opinion - as I found while investigating the Cunningham/Wilkes entry.
-James Cudahy, 9:03 CST, 5/10/2007

May 10, 2007 Evidence of bias - POGO (Project on Government Oversight)

I just wanted to provide an example of much of what I run accross when cross referencing POGO's "facts" back to their actual sources.

Here is a quote from the POGO blog that is referenced on the Hunter page:

..."Hunter actively discouraged Congressional investigation into Abu Ghraib."

POGO sources this information to a Baltimore Sun article. Here is the content from that article that references Duncan Hunter:

"But on the other side of the Capitol, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, said that "six idiots" were entirely responsible for abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison outside of Baghdad, and there is "no evidence" that military intelligence officers, civilian contractors or other superiors were culpable."

Now, here is the actual quote from Duncan Hunter (from CNN's transcript):

"REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: The thing that I'm worried about is the 135,000 Americans who are acting honorably and courageously will receive little coverage and these -- and these six idiots, if that's the number of people who involved themselves in the pictures that we saw, will receive massive coverage and I think that's a tragedy."

Quite a different picture...

Three days after the quote taken from CNN, Hunter addressed Secretary Rumsfeld and the Armed Services Committe in his opening statements with the following:

"Last year, several members of the United States military disgraced the uniform. By abusing enemy detainees a handful of miscreants broke our laws, embarrassed our country and created an international incident. Unlike Saddam, who practiced such abuse and much worse as a matter of state policy, the United States does not tolerate that kind of behavior. The military will bring the guilty to justice just as surely as Saddam could not escape accountability for his crime."

But POGO's Jason Vest comes up with: "Hunter actively discouraged Congressional investigation into Abu Ghraib."

This is what I am referring to when I make the assertion that POGO is a clearly biased source. I understand that two major political opinions and biases exist in this country and Source Watch seems to be more affected by left-bias than by right-bias, but in an information age, better sources exist to track the members of Congress than agenda-driven "watchdog" blogs. Does Source Watch really want to use such a blatently biased source - especially as a stand-alone source? Thank you for your thoughts on this.

--James Cudahy 22:48 CST 10 May 2007