Friday, August 17, 2007

I am Shocked! Well, Not Really. . .

Fox News Changes Wikipedia To Smear Rivals; Comprehensive List of Changes

By Brian Boyko

There are a few news stories breaking about people editing Wikipedia - including the CIA, Diebold, and U.S. Congressional Offices.

O’Reilly Media (the techie O’Reilly) has come out with information detailing that Fox News has been changing entries on Wikipedia as well - including one on Al Franken’s case with Bill O’Reilly (the caustic O’Reilly).

So we went ahead and took a look at other changes to Wikipedia allegedly made by the people from the Fox News offices - the changes originating from IP address “12.167.224.228“. (Here’s the DNS lookup for 12.167.224.228.) We’ve done the legwork of poring through all the edits and published a comprehensive list below, omitting corrections of minor errors and clarifications of fact, i.e., the innocuous. The following below are clearly anything but, however.

Below, you’ll find changes that were made by IP address 12.167.224.228, which resolves to Fox News. Changes are to the articles “Keith Olbermann”.

CHANGES TO: “KEITH OLBERMANN”

REMOVED

Ultimately, Olbermann’s dissatisfaction with Bristol contributed to his departure from ESPN in 1997. Even several years after his departure, many people still consider Olbermann to be one of the best anchors that SportsCenter ever had, and his pairing with Dan Patrick the best tandem ever.

In high school, Olbermann compiled an extensive list of first and third base coaches in baseball history. This documentation now sits in the Hall of Fame, and is considered the definitive compendium of first and third base coaches in baseball history.

… mocking O’Reilly’s purported fetish for loofah sponges, as alleged in a sexual harrassment suit against O’Reilly.

According to Dash Riprock of americanpolitics.com, Olbermann “tells the truth, and he does it in a sharp, subtlety stated, but unmistakable style. It’s sad to realize that it is truly such an oddity these days to see someone with those qualities on TV.” [http://www.americanpolitics.com/20030401punditpap.html]

CHANGED
From

On Monday, August 8, 2005, the day following [[Peter Jennings]]’s death from lung cancer, Olbermann revealed on-air that he had had a benign, fibrous tumor removed from the roof of his mouth just ten days earlier. In an explicit and controversial monologue, he attributed his tumor (and the resulting fear and pain) directly to his 27-year habit of smoking pipes and cigars. He vigorously urged his viewers not to wait until they see symptoms to quit. “Do whatever you have to do to stop smoking - now. While it’s easier.” According to [[Don Imus]] on the following morning’s [[Imus In The Morning]] broadcast, that statement nearly got Olbermann fired.

To

On Monday, August 8, 2005, the day following [[Peter Jennings]]’s death from lung cancer, Olbermann revealed on-air that he had had a benign, fibrous tumor removed from the roof of his mouth just ten days earlier. In an explicit and controversial monologue, he attributed his tumor (and the resulting fear and pain) directly to his 27-year habit of smoking pipes and cigars. He was taken to task inthe blogosphere for trying to make the story about himself the day after news veteran Peter Jennigs passed away from lung cancer. According to [[Don Imus]] on the following morning’s [[Imus In The Morning]] broadcast, that statement nearly got Olbermann fired.

From

O’Reilly’s show, ”[[The O’Reilly Factor]]”, airs on the Fox News Channel at the same time as Olbermann’s show on MSNBC, garnering ratings six times higher than Olbermann’s.

To

O’Reilly’s show, ”[[The O’Reilly Factor]]”, airs on the Fox News Channel at the same time as Olbermann’s show on MSNBC, garnering ratings ten times higher than Olbermann’s.

(Keep an eye on this change in particular)
From

Some conservatives feel that Olbermann’s reporting carries a liberal bias.

To

Conservatives feel that Olbermann’s reporting carries a liberal bias.

ADDED

This move was widely ciritcized by the the media and the blogosphere and Olbermann was attacked for making the death of news icon Peter Jennings about himself.

In Conclusion: There is no doubt that Wikipedia will, by design, have credibility problems. In addition to these, we found other (admittedly minor and less numerous) edits by the IP address that traces to Fox News that add more information to a story, clarify or correct, and manage to do what editors to Wikipedia should do. But the above listed edits are clearly designed not to get to the truth. If I was at Fox News, ostensibly a journalist, my first order of business would be finding out who, what, when, where, why, and how these edits were made. Were they made, as the IP suggests, from Fox’s offices? Was it an intern? A janitor? Rupert? Get to the bottom of the story - and if at the end of it, Fox is at fault, they should seriously apologize - not just to their viewers but to the entire Wikipedia community.

2 comments:

Denise (aka Trixie) said...

Dude! Too many words! I fell asleep reading....

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