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Absolut and Wikipedia’s left-wing gatekeepers

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 8, 2008 08:33 AM

Reader Scott, who uses Wikipedia, e-mailed me a link to the heated discussion between left-wing Wikipedia gatekeepers and users who wanted to add information about Absolut’s reconquista ad and apology. The Wikipedia police, so objective and neutral, accuse “non-notable bloggers” and “white supremacists” of “vandalizing” their precious site. God forbid actual news–and yes, the Absolut ad was news–infiltrate Wikipedia.

Wacky-pedia:

Could someone protect this page to new users? Apparently some non-notable bloggers have taken offense to their recent ad campaign and have repeatedly vandalized this page.–147.126.95.167 (talk) 20:29, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Considering the fact that Absolut has issued a statement on their website regarding the matter([2]), and it has been mentioned by the Los Angeles Times ([3]), I think it is a bit more than a few “non-notable” bloggers. I myself am rather incensed at the ad, and will go out of my way to not buy their product in the future. I’ve added a segment on the issue to the article. — Grandpafootsoldier (talk) 21:48, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

It was in LA Time’s blog, an opinion site, and the other source used was a blog as well. If there are some neutral points of view, like a newspaper article, a news story, etc, I would consider keeping it, but for right now, I’d keep my emotions in check about it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.173.127.11 (talk) 05:37, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

Absolut has issued a response defending the ad on their website ([4]). I think it’s time to stop blaming messengers and let it go up. IMSnooping (talk) 12:40, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

A bit of perspective: Absolut has been in business for some 130 years offering middle brow vodka and vodka based products to the masses. They’ve offered whimsical advertising of every description for years.

Given their long history, there is no way a single ad campaign (or a single ad in it) gone unnoticed by all but a small contingent of white supremacists and other miscellaneous right wingers looking for their “controversy” du jour could rise to the level of notability that would merit its inclusion in the page. Given that absolut-ly no one cares outside of the Malkin set, a rather fringe political demographic to be sure, I’d have to second the motion to protect the page until the “issue” is forgotten (i.e. next week). The rabbit in the suitcase (talk) 02:25, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

What exactly are you censors trying to protect Absolut from? The truth is the truth — and the truth about this ad is no less notable than references on the article to any of their ads. Are you afraid of people knowing the truth? The LA Times has reported on this issue more than once. Absolut has issued two statements — one defending the ad, one apologizing for it and announcing its withdrawal. Whether you’re animated by the ad or not is of no consequence — it’s a notable event in Absolut’s history and it belongs on the article.IMSnooping (talk) 17:50, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

I will agree that the article is a bit chatty in that it includes references to some ad campaigns for which Absolut is not especially noted. This is a weakness of the text to be sure. All the more reason that it should not be compounded with more nonsense like it.

The truth, as you say, is that the Mexico ads are being flogged by people with a fairly clear political agenda and that within a few days no one except a small political fringe of right blog readers will remember this ever happened. Indeed, the entire purpose of edits regarding the Mexico ads is to try to perpetuate and expand the supposed outrage into the mainstream. As such, the edits are fundamentally non-encyclopedic in nature. The rabbit in the suitcase (talk) 22:54, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

To put it more simply: The edits including this Mexico ad business amount to political activism. See Wikipedia:SOAP etc. There’s also an NPOV issue: If the interest in the subject is restricted to American white nationalists, it seems to me that its inclusion, being an assertion of its notability to a general audience, is just not justifiable within the context of an encyclopedia taking a neutral point of view. The rabbit in the suitcase (talk) 23:02, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Right, but the entrance in the political sphere was made not by “white nationalists” (?), but by Absolut. They’re the ones who ran the overtly political ad. It’s not as if people are making this up about Absolut. They made their own beds and there’s no reason that something notable that Absolut did shouldn’t find its way onto their article. And you’re wrong that the matter is only of interest to a small sliver of people. Go to Absolut’s website and read the comments to their statement. Last I looked, there were about 1000 comments, from people who lay claim to any number of political stripes.

I’d feel differently if somebody twisted something Absolut did. But it’s a factual report about a factual ad. And a great deal of this particular article relates to Absolut’s adverstising (as it the case with many consumer products companies).

In any event, you’re blaming the messenger. This addition is entirely in keeping with WP’s guidelines.IMSnooping (talk) 04:31, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

***

Related: Author Robert Ferrigno was struck by the similarity in the pre-Zorro map Absolut used, and the map in his novel, “Sins of the Assassin.” Check it out.

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