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Talk:Peruvians sue Newmont Mining Company over mercury poisoning

Some possible POV issuesEdit

This article is about mercury poisoning caused by an American company. It seems ok when it describes the event and possibly even when it blames the American company.

However, at some point the article takes another direction and start blamming US companies in general by the pollution over another countries in the world and that is a questionable allegation. Although some American companies are in fact responsible by pollution in another countries, they are not the only one. Where I live, for example, there are dozen of companies which pollute the air, river, etc, and they are not American ones. So, if you want to say that American companies are responsible of pollution in another countries, and enviroment in general, you must also say at least that there are not American companies which are so dangerous (or even more dangerous) than American ones.

Mercury poisoning is not a problem caused exclusively by American companies. In many areas of Brazilian territory, for example, mercury poisoning is not caused by any company but by individual goldwashers who use mercury during their work.

My suggestion are two: remove the section which blames exclusively the American companies, or extend the article and put contrary arguments/or more related to your claims. Keep close to the event, don't try to extract disputable conclusions from it, don't use the article to expose personal pov.

The article repeats jargons which say that US companies, profits and globalization are responsible exclusivelly by pollution problems in the world. Although there are some veracity in some of those claims, they are too vague and imprecise. Someone can argue, for example, that globalization and pollution are irreversible facts and that we can only reduce their damages, but not preventing that they happen.

I am optimistic about this article and I believe that after some changes it can be a good one. --Carlosar 12:47, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Paulrevere2005 has changed the only instance where it could be implied that U.S. firms are solely to blame for environmental degredation. Other than that, I think it is pretty clear that this article focuses on a certain event (mercury poisoning in Peru) and shows that it is a pattern of behavior for Newmont Mining company (in Indonesia as well), not all U.S. firms in general. I think anything else-- especially when you say "US companies, profits and globalization are responsible exclusively by pollution problems in the world"-- is a stretch. It is not the job of the article to debate the so-called inevitability of globalization and it's negative aspects, but rather to show how one particular firm had exploited developing countries and now faces a lawsuit in the American judicial system for it. Thanks for your comment. --Howrealisreal 14:44, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • In my opinion, putting this article in the "disputed" category is an abuse.

All that needed to be done to deal with Carlosar's POV concern was a tiny edit (replacing "US firms" with "international businesses"). All the other verbage here is simply Carlosar attributing motives to the article that aren't really there. Paulrevere2005 14:52, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • I believe that the passage: "Nineteenth-century Gold Rush America showed the environmental degradation, including human and wildlife poisoning, that was possible as a result of gold mining. These same lessons are being learned again as the emerging trend of outsourcing US mining operations continues in developing countries." is irrelevant, and possibly contributory to the feeling of a non-NPoV. I recommend that it be removed. --Amoore 16:00, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
This passage is not irrelevant at all. Some people have a POV that is vaguely disturbed by certain truths... then accuse the truths of being POV. 67.80.8.96
Very well. If it seems relevant to more than a small handful, I'm fine with it. I retract my recommendation. --Amoore 16:52, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
And what is the truth? Most of the environmental degradation, in some areas of Brazilian Amazon (including water poisoning by mercury) is a result of gold mining which is done by individuals in a local gold rush. These individuals are not Americans, they dont work for companies, they dont have companies, they are not rich neither. Replacing "US firms" with "international businesses" was a good solution. My only complain now is the passage: "These same lessons are being learned again as the emerging trend of outsourcing US mining operations continues in developing countries." You must say that US mining operations is part of a problem and not the problem at all. Something like that: "These same lessons are being learned again by modern era mining. One example is the emerging trend of outsourcing US mining operations in developing countries." This idea does not invalidate what you said in most part of the article. If you improve the passage I will have no more complains, so the the npov tag can be removed by anyone. --Carlosar 17:37, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)


All that needed to be done to deal with Carlosar's POV concern was a tiny edit (replacing "US firms" with "international businesses"). All the other verbage here is simply Carlosar attributing motives to the article that aren't really there. Paulrevere2005 14:52, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I am sorry, unfortunately I did not know another way to call the attention of Wikinews editors, so the problem could be solved. I have used it because I thought that there was no problem using the tag. --Carlosar 17:57, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I reworded that statement as per your request, but instead of using "one example", I chose the word "especially" instead to reference U.S. global mining operations. I feel that although it is of course valid that there may be many individual miners who are not American or affiliated with corporate firms, they are still just a drop in the bucket compared to the collective impact of conglomerate mining companies, especially Newmount which is the world leader in gold production. I appreciate greatly the opportunity to work with you guys to make this article NPOV and better. Thanks. --Howrealisreal 18:06, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I have removed the paragraph about "lessons learned": "Nineteenth-century Gold Rush America showed the environmental degradation, including human and wildlife poisoning, that was possible as a result of gold mining. These same lessons are being learned again by modern era mining, especially the emerging trend of outsourcing US mining operations to developing countries."
While I happen to agree with the environmental POV implied, I could write an opposing view: "As modern-era mining companies are learning, the economic benefits far outweigh the social cost incurred on the remote countries in which their mining takes place." Same incident, different POV. We should stick to the facts, as the rest of the article does quite well. Pingswept 01:49, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
did you take out the stub, now that you singlehandedly decided the issue a group of people was working together to? oh. you didn't sign that either. what about this problem with your reasoning: i could write from a POV that supports random violence, which would force us to remove any statements based on the assumption that justice is a good thing, or honesty, truth. maybe as journalists we need to consider the arguments in favor of propaganda and disinformation? or perhaps it would be best if aliens took us all prisoner? !!!!67.80.8.96 02:51, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Sorry about not signing. I don't know what "the stub" is, but all I removed was the part I quoted, so I don't think I removed "the stub." I don't know what you mean about the aliens. Pingswept 03:15, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Sorry too. I overreact. Someone took it out anyway. I don't know what it's called. A tag? I guess I'm lashing out as much at the entire NPOV gospel as at you as its enforcer, the hyperbole was meant to show that on at least SOME level we have to agree on a POV, if you want to be technical, and who wouldn't? To break that down one more time, for you to posit an argument based on a thought experiment which depended on having a (N)POV which requires balancing economic needs and basic self-evident rights of human beings, means your conclusion might not be valid, because that is not a reasonable POV thus it can't be NPOV, or am I missing something major? 67.80.8.96 03:58, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

The fiction of NPOVEdit

I appreciate the contributors who have taken the time to comment on this story.

The above discussion beautifully illustrates the fiction of NPOV.

At some level, NPOV becomes ridiculous and self-defeating, and we must make certain value judgments based upon ethics, or concepts of human rights, or whatever you call "doing the right thing".

If a business commits a terrible crime, injuring hundreds, I really don't give a damn that from the business' point of view, they were only trying to make a profit, and therefore the injuries to human life were OK from their perspective.

This is like an auto company making a decision that it's OK for a fuel tank to explode when it is lightly tapped in a rear-end collision, because it is cheaper to defend against the few lawsuits, than it is to recall, redesign, and fix the cars.

Injuring others for profit is not OK. There is no question of POV which might justify this.

When a company has injured others in pursuit of profit, I don't need to hear "their side of the story". The offending business is objectively in the wrong in my book.

I suppose the next story on the BTK serial killer should find out his side of the story, to find out why he killed all of his victims, because it's only fair to hear "his side of the story"?

NPOV is not a suicide pact.

NPOV is not a mantra to be mindlessly repeated as if we are members of a cult.

Common sense needs to enter into the equation somewhere along the line.

DV 05:48, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I agree with 67.80.8.96 that on some level we have to agree on a POV. There are plenty cases where the line between an neutral POV and biased POV are difficult to distinguish, but I don't think it's hopeless. For example, on what grounds could someone dispute the first sentence in the article, "Peruvians living near the site of a release of mercury are preparing to sue a U.S. mining company, announcing last Saturday that they will bring their case before a Denver judge"? Were they not really Peruvians? Was the announcement actually on Saturday? Is discussing the event in the framework of the Gregorian calendar tacitly supporting the unproven claim that time can be divided into discrete elements?
What I try to do is think of counterclaims to the claims made in the article. When I can't think of any counterclaims that aren't silly, I stop and go edit some other article. I think that's the "common sense" part that DV mentions. Otherwise, I'd write ridiculous things like "People alleged to be living in a region known to some as 'Peru' announced before now that they will speak with someone referred to as a 'judge' in the area once called 'Denver.'"
I don't think I reach some pinnacle of neutrality or anything, but I prefer the result to what happens if I just write from my POV. I'm not certain that this is the best path, but it's what I'm doing. Back to editing! Pingswept 06:02, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)


The first thing I would like to say, before I get into this, is that I really do not care that the line in question was removed. Pingswept, I will fight for your right to edit any day of the year, but that doesn't mean that I have to agree with your logic behind making edits. Particularly, I am very troubled by what you claim to be your principle behind removing the "lessons learned" line. I say this because I know that it is proven scientific fact that after the 19th century impulsive gold rush in America there was an undeniable amount of environmental degradation and human/wildlife poisoning. Please understand the facts and magnitude of these issues in places like California, Colorado, and Nevada. So to say that it is okay-- in the face of seeing innocent workers die, streams and grounds polluted, and natural ecosystems destroyed-- for American companies that know better to go to the developing world to cause the same destruction... that is just shallow my friend.

I think the removal of that line reeks of POV: POV in defense of lassiez-fair capitalism and perpetuating myths that corporations know what's best for this world. LIES! It is not cheaper to pay off lawsuits! You are not thinking of natural resources that are not just the property of Peru or Newmont mining, but of the global community. We depend on fresh water and aquatic life, for example, to support our civilizations. Please take some time to peep these scientific peer-reviewed journal articles that outline just how terrible situations are that your so-called "NPOV" is defending:

  • Calvert, Geoffrey M., Steenland, Kyle, & Palu, Sue, “End-stage renal disease among silica-exposed gold miners: A new method for assessing incidence among epidemiologic cohorts”, Journal of the American Medical Association 277, no. 15, (April 16, 1997): 1219-1223
  • Mu, Aysen, “A Review of Environmental Considerations on Gold Mining and Production”, Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology 33, no. 1, (January, 2003): 45-71
  • Pearce, Fred, “Caught In the Gold Rush”, New Scientist 150, no. 2029, (May 11, 1996): 14-15
  • Solnit, Rebecca, “The New Gold Rush”, Sierra 85, (July/August, 2000): 50-57, 86

Thank you. --Howrealisreal 17:46, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

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