Plans Projects SCV Public Education
Posted below is additional correspondence and discussion concerning SCV public relations plans and projects. It is indeed encouraging that SCV National leadership has recognized and work is underway to create "electronic" monuments for the 21st century to educate millions who are ignorant and unaware of the Southern perspective of the Old South, Confederacy, War Between the States, and Reconstruction. We of course need to increase efforts to preserve our 19th and early 20th century "Stone" monuments-statues, memorials, graves etc. But the key to educating millions in the U.S.A. and worldwide is the use of modern electronics -The Internet along with newspapers, radio, and TV.
James W. King
Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 141
Lt. Col. Thomas M. Nelson
COMMENTS BY STEVE SCROGGINS SCV PR MEDIA SPECIALIST GA. HERITAGE COUNCIL
Compatriot King’s remark about Wikipedia, as I understood him, was simply to state the obvious fact that Wikipedia is dominated by some neutral at best and many who are hostile to our perspective of American history. This fact has not gone unnoticed by those in senior SCV leadership — and there has been some discussion on a plan to correct the obvious bias in Wiki.
I have been assigned to pull together a pilot program for a test run, but alas, other duties and tasks have consumed my time — it hasn’t advanced beyond the planning stage. I’ll share some highlight thoughts below. I’ll be needing a crew of volunteers.. .so if some of you want to participate, please let me know.
ANYONE can be a Wikipedia editor. There is a signup process. Any editor can make changes, but must be prepared to defend those changes following Wiki’s established rules and protocols which — at least it seems to me — have a broad degree of discretion and judgment calls. They have so-called "principles" such as "viewpoint bias" which Wikipedia entries are supposed to avoid. Reference to third party documents and source citations as support/backup, especially so-called "mainstream" publications, is the best way to defend any posted fact or quote. So that fact alone, gives the advantage at the outset to our opponents since the majority of "mainstream" is hostile to our positions and beliefs. Harper’s or the New Yorker magazine get more points than say, Confederate Veteran.
The Arena of Ideas
There are thousands and thousands of entries that need to be edited and adjusted, and thereafter monitored and defended against challengers. WBTS battles, Confederate generals and leaders, secession, historical figures and many others. Modern phrases like "neo-confederate" and other anti-southern slurs are a whole other category.
My idea was to create a list (a long, long list) of ENTRIES that SCV should monitor and edit (to fulfull our Charge on "the guardianship of his history"). An example of one entry is, say, Jefferson Davis, or Robert E. Lee. If you do a Google search for either of these men, the Wikipedia entry comes up as number one, the top entry.
THAT is a powerful position that testifies to the enormous traffic Wiki gets. A lot of people take Wiki as the Gospel without questioning the source(s). This is an arena of ideas where we need a stronger presence — unfortunately, the enemy currently holds the high ground, has more troops and a large store of weapons. We, the SCV and the southern perspective, are years behind our opponents in preparation. Our focus has been on stone monuments; while our enemies have built electronic monuments. THEIR monuments are visible to the whole world — and are more accessible and of more interest to younger people. We need to move out of the "stone age" and build archives of information (multimedia, audio, video, written text and images on websites, etc., etc.)
The Lee entry in Wikipedia has a note added about "Late Emancipation" … that is, someone has criticized Lee for not emancipating the slaves inherited from Custis within the five years specified in the Will. I’ve seen this argument batted about on anti-southern blogs, used to refute suggestions that Lee freed his slaves before the war while Grant only after the 13th amendment ratification Dec. 1865. Records indicate the manumission took place in 1862, which is earlier than Grant, but not "before the war" as is commonly believed.
There are many, many subtle entries like this intended to tarnish and smear our heroes, and there are many more blatant examples (Forrest, etc.). By the same token, there’s a lot of fluff and mythology and hero worship of figures like Lincoln, John Brown, William Sherman and Morris Dees. There’s growing scholarship and sources of contrary facts that need to be added to the entries of these last four. Rest assured, there are Lincoln-worshipping south-bashers who are watching these four entries, and they will resist any changes that are not rock solid and supported by unassailable sources.
Where we need to end up is with a large corps of southern truth guardians, monitoring a small set of assigned entries by each guardian. When those guardians need to resign or withdraw for any reason, we need them to advise a coordinator or committee so that their assigned entries are reassigned and continuously monitored and guarded by another volunteer who steps into the gap. It will be critical that these guardians not get overloaded; they need to be focused on their short list and need to know those entries in great detail.
Learning the field, testing the tactics
To get there, it would probably be best to develop a small group as a pilot with a limited scope of entries to adjust and monitor. Over time, they would develop a list of best practices, techniques, tools and skills, and seek to write down that knowledge so that it can be passed on. Successful methods and tactics need to be passed on (discreetly, not shared with the entire world) to an ongoing committee/officer, and if the program succeeds, then it should be expanded as the number of volunteers allow to cover the highest priority entries.
Obviously, someone or some group would need to priotitize the list of entries on which the SCV "quality" corps should focus.
All this above is a long-term project and a long-term effort. In my mind, the opportunities of greater PR to be achieved during the Sesqui take priority over this Wiki project. If any SCV member is inclined to test the waters and try their hand as an independent Wiki editor, I say go for it. Learn the tricks and share them with the PR committee who would assure they get passed along to whomever takes the project forward.
Make some changes today…and within a short period of time, they will be altered. You’ll need to be ready to defend your changes and challenge those editors who modify your entries. If you’re not committed to a long-term struggle, then you’re wasting time. Our enemies are relentless in this medium they dominate.
It has been suggested that we consider forming our own Wiki — call it Confedera-pedia. I don’t oppose that idea, but in my mind, just as with Conservapedia, it will be ranked far, far down the search results list below Wikipedia. Such an effort would never be seen as much as Wikipedia which dominates in the search engines. I dont’ see it as our best use of scarce resources.
This Wiki project is separate and apart from the websites that Compatriot King is suggesting. Even if those sites were successful and full of great information, one might argue that Wiki would still dominate them in the search engines. Choose any battle or term (like secession, war between the states, etc.) and try it in Google. Wikis entry will come up on top of the list. If we develop the topical sites, we would need to heavily promote them — or else they would be lost in the universe of info on the WWW.
COMMENTS BY JEFF DAVIS SCV PR MEDIA SPECIALIST
Thanks much to Steve Scroggins who has been assigned the national Wikipedia project by the SCV PR-Media Committee.
While Steve feels his explanation is lengthy I feel it needs to be in some detail so that those who have shown interest can have some feel of what we’re dealing with. If they are sincerely interested perhaps we can find some who will volunteer to help.
I should point out that this is a favored project of our Chief of Staff, Chuck Rand. Chuck is in my mind the very best at the exactness of the English language.
The other observation I would make is that we of the PR Committee welcome and respect the comments of all members. There is occasionally the need to fill folks in on what actions have taken place that they are not aware of. Without criticizing anyone, I believe it is understandable since some depend solely on one source for information. Some seem to depend solely on the communication taking place on a list. My suggestion would be to broaden the input by following the official SCV site where news releases, the SCV Blog and special notices (The Telegraph) from headquarters are featured. The Georgia SCV Discussion has done a good job in trying to keep up with getting this information out
For those who want more in depth news and commentary, the most widely viewed website is the GeorgiaHeritageCouncil,org which has now passed over a million two hundred thousand viewers and leads many search engines as a source for Southern oriented stories, current news updates daily, a special column daily on The Hate Watch and the widely followed X Files of satire and humor. It’s free.
Finally, while we at Public Relations feel we have only began to make a proactive dent in the field of opinion, we are proud of the work of several unselfish volunteers who are actively involved. An example of the work this year is that we have appeared in an estimated ten times more daily newspapers than ever before. We have appeared with spokespeople on almost all television networks, some several times. We have participated in some of the nationwide radio talk shows.
We have conducted a poll verifying the the importance of Confederate History Month with a national news release of the findings.
We have several projects under development for the Sesquicentennial. We still have much to do.
Much of our activity is a direct result of Commanders-in- Chief Mc Michael and Sullivan who have recognized what some of you are saying and have gone about the business of trying to improve it. Again, we still have much to do.
Thanks for your kind attention.
Jeff Davis, Camp 1404, Gainesville, GA
Chairman, Public Relations and Media Committee
Sons of Confederate Veterans
COMMENTS BY JIM DEAN-SCV PR MEDIA SPECIALIST
James, Here is an example of what we call in the PR trade ‘piggybacking’ an issue. This was a huge PR loss for the chip on their shoulder Hispanic radicals. They got taken down a big notch. They now want to have this forgotten about.
Notice how I wove in our own flag issue, including the mention of our flags being American flags, a term the lamestream media has never used….and the double standard we are treated to.
In the old days we would have fired something off right away to get into the fight early, but experience has given us a sixth sense (an inexact science) over when to rush in and when to wait a while to read more of the tea leaves.
In the initial draft I had some Hispanic gang material in there, as to how these schools are often filled with gang kids…that is offensive…but the word is ‘tough doo doo’.
I removed all of that and replaced it with the school being in violation of the school district rules, the California code, which I did not know about until the next day. It came out a much better piece.
And I also was able to introduce another banned concept…’diversity training’ for these educational people who are gunning for us…trying to get right into their training programs. The High School folks ignoring their superior’s policies gave us a great opening here.
We don’t get too many easy opportunities like this.