Futile efforts by a professor of history to correct the Wikipedia entry on the Haymarket bombing in 1886 shows the flaws in WP’s approach to information which bars original sources and leans heavily on the “consensus” reached in “reliable media” on any given subject.

The battle of Prof. Timothy Messer-Kruse with WP has sparked hundreds of comments by scholars and others on the website of "The Chronicle of Higher Education".

Timothy Messer-Kruse
One respondent said that had WP been around in the days of Copernicus and Galileo it would not have accepted their findings that the earth went around the sun and not vice versa until numerous scholars had agreed with that and written about it.

Messer-Kruse says there is plenty of evidence of the guilt of seven men charged with the bombing although the WP entry says the prosecution “did not offer evidence connecting any of the defendants with the bombing…”

He has written a book about the incident, "The Trial of the Haymarket Anarchists, Terrorism and Justice in the Gilded Age."

Among the hundreds of comments is one that says WP’s insistence on believing in the innocence of the bombers shows the “left slant” of WP’s editors and their “painful contortions of reason, logic and debate rules and when confronted with evidence in conflict with the party line, (they) lapse into lectures on civility.”

Messer-Kruse’s attempts to correct the WP entries on the bombing were erased within minutes and he was warned that further attempts would get him classified as a “vandal” and permanently barred from WP.

Other entries on the Chronicle’s website note that almost all WP “editors” operate behind a cloak of anonymity while scholars and journalists are required to identify themselves and accept public criticism. Journalists, it is noted, often risk their lives in pursuit of information and in providing their bylines. Several postings said few of the 10,000 WP “editors” have any expertise or background in the subjects they are editing.

O’Dwyer Seeks Mentions of NPC about PRS

The O’Dwyer Co. has run into the same WP rule against “primary sources” in attempting to place on WP the National Press Club’s statement asking the PR Society to remove its boycott of the O’Dwyer Co. No O’Dwyer employee or “assign” is allowed to cover the Assembly of PRS nor have press passes to annual conference events or receptions.

Leaders and staff refuse to answer any questions put to them by any O’Dwyer staffer. Leaders/staff also refuse to answer the same questions put to them by members, one of them being a Fellow.

Four WP editors have told this writer that only when a “reliable” medium publishes the NPC statement will WP consider it for use on the PRS page which currently only has a 296-word entry. WP pleads for additional materials for the page.

We have launched a two-pronged campaign—to win publication of the NPC statement in a “reliable” medium and to win the right of journalists to join PRS.

Press groups uniformly allow PR members although they may not have full voting rights. They do have full access to the group’s financial information.

PR groups, with the exception of PRS, commonly allow reporters as members including the International Assn. of Business Communicators, the International PR Assn., Publicity Club of New York and many other PR groups.

The Society of Professional Journalists has hundreds of PR members. Two members of its board are full-time PR people, Lauren Bartlett, senior project manager of media relations, Southern Calif. Edison, and Brian Eckert, director of media and PR, University of Richmond.

NPC has 750 “communications” (PR) members among its 3,300 total. Three PR people are non-voting members of the board.

E-mails have been sent to more than 20 press clubs in the U.S. and abroad checking on whether PR people can be members and what are their rights. The clubs are also being sent the NPC statement asking PRS to remove the O’Dwyer boycott and asking them for comment on the boycott and to publish the statement to their members.

Press Clubs Listed

Atlanta Press Club
Denver Press Club
Press Club of Dallas
Greater Los Angeles Press Club
Milwaukee Press Club
Pen & Pencil Club, Philadelphia
Omaha Press Club
Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis
International Press Club of Chicago
Albuquerque Press Club
National Press Club of Canada
Overseas Press Club, New York
International Press Center, Antwerp
London Press Club
Foreign Press Assn. in London
Frontline Press Club of St. Bride Institute
Press Club de France
Press Club of Lyon
Press Club of Montpellier
Press Club of Strasbourg
Berliner Presse Club
Frankfurt Press Club
Circolo della Stampa, Milano