Sunday, November 15, 2015

Debunking the Sandy Hook Debunkers: #2 What's wrong with amazon.com?


The earliest reviews of NOBODY DIED AT SANDY HOOK (2015) on amazon.com were highly favorable, which appears to have struck fear in those who want to suppress the truth about this elaborate hoax. The evidence that we have produced in this 425-page book is so extensive, thorough and detailed that they had to find a tactic for coping with the immense public interest it was bound to generate. Here is an example of one of the very first, if not the very first, reviews to appear:


The technique they adopted was to post a massive number of 1-STAR reviews, which were notable because none of them offered any specific criticisms of the book. They instead offered condemnations of the book for its contributors (whom, apart from me, they do not acknowledge) based upon (real or feigned) beliefs that children actually died at Sandy Hook and that we (the authors collectively) are taking advantage of the victims of the crime for our own profit, which might be a reasonable ground to complain, were it true, but where the contents of the book prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this is not the case, where the critics simply take for granted (or pretend) that they are right. It's called "begging the question":


The outcome has been a highly unusual bi-modal distribution, where a large number of 5-STAR reviews are offset by a large number of 1-STAR reviews, which had averaged out to 3.6 out of 5 (when I took the following screen shot). But the striking feature of these reviews is that those who post 5-STAR reviews have actually read the book, which those who are posting 1-STAR reviews have not. It is not rocket science to appreciate that posting reviews of books you have not read is unethical, but those who are engaged in this practice, like the local, state and federal officials who brought us Sandy Hook, are wholly without scruples:

Customer Review Guidelines

After repeated complaints submitted to amazon.com about some of these irresponsible reviews, I have found that, in order to be successful, it is necessary to cite one of amazon.com's own guidelines as the basis for your complaint. Here are those guidelines, with which those who are willing to engage in hand-to-hand (better, word-to-word) combat with the purveyors of falsehoods, disinformation and false information about Sandy Hook need to become familiar. (Winfield Abbe, Ph.D., and George Bodley have been two champions of our cause--and I am grateful to many others.) These are the tools of our trade to defeat abuse. 

WHY REVIEWS CAN BE REJECTED




Perhaps the most instructive policies that need to be understood are the reasons why reviews can be rejected. When those posting 1-STAR reviews about this book have never even read it, we have to consider what guidelines of amazon.com apply to cases like this. I believe the most important in this context is one that maintains that, "Your review should focus on specific features of the product and your experience with it." That implies you should know the product and, in the case of a book, for example, have actually read it. Point out that they have offered no reasons for posting their reviews.
















In suggesting how to write a great review, amazon.com stated, "The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product or service, but also why." That strongly suggests it would be appropriate to object to a review on the ground that it condemns the book without giving any specific reasons to justify that. Another reason can be that someone has repeatedly posted the same or virtually the same content in many posts, in which case you can complain that it qualifies as SPAM and it may very well be deleted.















REPORTING VIOLATIONS

What you most need to master is the steps involved in reporting violations. Here is a sample review by a person who acknowledges (as a matter of pride, it would appear) that he has not read the book. That makes this review a prime candidate for removal. Notice in the lower right-hand corner that there are options for evaluating whether this review was helpful to you or not:  click YES or NO. Beside those options, however, is an icon saying "Report abuse", which would be most appropriate in this case. This is an easy one:







I submitted a complaint that this person had not even read the book and therefore could not offer an honest opinion about the product or service. But be creative, because we may be making progress. Since I began following the guidelines and reporting abuses that were in violation of the guidelines, four (4) of those 1-STAR reviews have been taken down, where the last time I checked, the ranking had modestly improved as follows (which suggests that, if we display discipline and determination, we may be able to turn the tide in favor of truth and justice). The problem may be less amazon.com than our ability to properly utilize it:

Some abuses are greater than others

Many of these attacks simply ignore such basic elements as that there are a half-dozen (current or retired) professors who have contributed to the book, as well as a half-dozen other experts, many of whom are well-known within the Sandy Hook research community (James F. Tracy, Ph.D.; Vivian Lee, Ph.D., Nicholas Kollerstrom, Ph.D., and Dr. Eowyn, Ph.D.), not to mention Sterling Harwood, J.D., Ph.D., and me. But others are also extremely well-known, such as Sofia Smallstorm, Paul Preston and, of course, Wolfgang Halbig. That point makes it rather preposterous that the authors are "deluded".


Reviews like this one, however, are completely scurrilous. Neither the University of Minnesota nor the Duluth campus has "distanced itself from him and denounced his theories". That is at least faintly ridiculous and it certainly not the business of the administration. After all, how would an administrator know how to evaluate my research on a subject like Sandy Hook? When I was promoted to Distinguished McKnight University Professor in 1996, I was (and to the best of my knowledge remain) the only McKnight Professor not on the Twin Cities campus. The program itself speaks volumes about this kind of subversive report, where the program has been called, "The Minnesota Genius Grants", because it comes with a $100,000 grant for research and travel:

After all, faculty are (more or less) independent contractors. They are hired to research in their disparate fields. Unlike most university faculty (but in solidarity with James F. Tracy, Vivian Lee, Dr. Eowyn, Nick Kollerstrom, Sterling Harwood and my dear friend, Kevin Barrett), I have tackled some of the most complex and controversial issues of our time, including JFK, 9/11, Wellstone, Sandy Hook, the Boston bombing--and beyond to the moon landing, the first death of Saddam Hussein, the second death of Osama bin Laden and, the most taboo of them all, the Holocaust. For those whose eyes are opened by this book, I would encourage them to consider, AND I SUPPOSE WE DIDN'T GO TO THE MOON, EITHER? (2015), for another dose of reality from those dedicated to exposing it.