Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fox Caught Fudging the Facts on Wikipedia

Fox News, that paragon of truth and virtue, has been caught manipulating entries in the online encyclopedia known as Wikipedia.

Wikipedia allows the public to edit its entries on the theory that the encyclopedia will draw on the best human knowledge and thus be self-correcting.

Unfortunately, the system doesn't always work. Some people "game" the system.

According to news reports, intrepid online investigators have tracked down the sources of questionable Wikipedia changes. As it happens, embarrassing information about Bill O'Reilly was deleted. The culprit: a computer address at Fox News.

Not only that, several Fox critics, such as Al Franken and Keith Olbermann, had their entries altered to include in new (and erroneous) information. And who added this bogus material? You guessed it: more computers at Fox News.

8 comments:

Tulsan said...

Gave Wikipedia the old falafel treatment, did they? Wait until Murdoch gets his mitts on the New York Times. And just when they hired an ombudsman with some integrity.

Jack Boyte said...

Virgil Griffith of the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico has developed software that tracks computers that edit Wikipedia and found that computers at the CIA and FBI have made edits about the Iraqi occupation and other sensitive issues. See this article in the WaPo http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/16/AR2007081601727.html

Tulsan said...

And our good friends at Diebold, who brought us the audit trail-free voting machine (with the support of our good Republican friends), have gotten in on the .

Tulsan said...

.

Tulsan said...

...act.

Dan Paden said...

Now, come on. No doubt Fox staffers were doing that very sort of thing. Unfortunately, it's not been all that hard to maliciously alter Wikipedia entries. But to be even remotely on the fair side, you ought also to note that New York Times Staffers have apparently been up to the same sort of behavior.

This seems to do a decent job of outlining the situation fairly.

I must warn any reader in advance that this one contains some markedly foul language, but it says much the same thing, only it drags the Vatican into it.

This entry notes some particularly vitriolic edits made by NYT staffers--or at least, so he says. I admit I haven't taken the time to check his claims out.

And this account focuses mainly on the NYT's edits regarding the WSJ.

Juvenile--and/or dishonest--behavior isn't confined to one side or the other of the political aisle.

Tulsan said...

I don't doubt it a bit. The Times has done an extremely poor job of reporting overall during the past 7 years at least.

Although it is an article of faith among some that the Times is a liberal paper, it has strongly supported the war up until very recently. Judith Miller is an example of this kind of reporting.

To be fair, the Times does have Frank Rich and a few others who have remained brilliant observers of the Bush follies.

Recently, the Times hired a new ombudsman who has considerable credentials. He was a chief at Knight-Ridder/McClatchy, one of the few news organizations who didn't go off their nut.

Evidently, even the higher-ups at the Times realized they have lost considerable credibility and intend to mend their ways.

Tulsan said...

Since Rupert Murdoch's next project will probably be to buy the NYT, the WSJ and NYT will be in the same stable as Fox News. Problem solved.