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Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Sheffield Ignores That 'Wiki Wars' Go Both Ways
Topic: NewsBusters

An April 9 NewsBusters post by Matthew Sheffield paints a skirmish on the Wikipedia page for Absolut vodka over the mentnion of a (conservative-led) controversy over an ad Absolut ran in Mexico that portrayed much of the southwestern U.S. as part of Mexico, per an early 19th century map, as part of "the front of the Wiki Wars, the ideological battle for the soul of Wikipedia." Sheffield asserted that "it seems left-wingers at the online encyclopedia site are angry that anyone would want to mention Absolut's reconquista controversy in the vodka maker's article." Sheffield concluded by claiming that "a perfect example of how there's no need to cede dominance of the critically important resource of Wikipedia to the left." This is an update of sorts to a March 31 post in which Sheffield claimed that Wikipedia is liberal-dominated, thus giving liberals an advantage in the "war for the political metanarrative."

Sheffield ignores, however, that the "Wiki War" goes both ways. As TPM's Greg Sargent noted, Newsmax's Ronald Kessler was actively trying to scrub from his Wikipedia page references to his Obama-bashing reporting that addressed the controversy over his claim (denied by the Obama campaign and retracted by William Kristol) that Barack Obama attended a church service in which Rev. Jeremiah Wright allegedly said inflammatory things. It's a rather puffery-laden page, which suggests that Kessler or a surrogate makes an effort to maintain said puffery, at least until finally giving up over the Obama stuff. Similarly, the Wikipedia page for WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein is also puffery-laden and suspciously criticism-free (well, it was criticism-free until we took a crack at it); note the scrubbing activities of unregistered users (those identified only by IP address) and a certain "Jerusalem21" in the page's history.

For Sheffield to portray aggressive Wikipedia editing as a provice solely of "left-wingers" is inaccurate, and he might want to admit that sometime.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:44 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2008 4:48 PM EDT

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