Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wikipedia in the Tank For Obama

Wikipedia has slammed the lid on any speculation about President Obama's birthplace, reportedly scrubbing any questioning articles within moments of their appearance. World Net Daily reports as follows.

A WND article reporting yesterday that Wikipedia had been scrubbing President Obama's biography of criticism has resulted in an "edit war" on the website in which a large number of users were barred from posting on key issues, including any mention of challenges to Obama's eligibility.

Ultimately, administrators at Wikipedia, the online "free encyclopedia" mega-site written and edited by its users, entirely locked Obama's page so that only top editors could make changes to the entry – and only if a change is supported by a consensus of editors.

A perusal through Obama's Wikipedia entry yesterday found a heavily guarded, mostly glowing biography about the U.S. president. Some of Obama's most controversial past affiliations, including with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and former Weathermen terrorist Bill Ayers, were not once mentioned, even though the associations received significant media attention and became themes during the presidential elections last year.

Also completely lacking is any mention of the concerns surrounding Obama's eligibility to serve as commander in chief.

Wikipedia works almost entirely with volunteers from the public. At times this can work well, provided the articles concern dry topics like geography or the history of the metric system. Unfortunately, topics like the Middle East or Yugoslavia are almost certain to attract articles with disputed premises. I was reading an article about Pope Pius IX, who was widely reviled for his reactionary politics, anti Jewish policies and the kidnapping by the Catholic Church of Edgardo Mortara, a six year old Jewish boy in 1957 who was secretly baptised by a 14 year old maid. The Wikipedia article appeared to be an official church biography.

The management of Wikipedia seems to have put Obama under its protection. Whatever lively debate may take place across the internet about Barack Obama is banished from Wikipedia, where a Moscow style consensus prevails.

Wikipedia has waded into controversy before. It is possible to find on Wikipedia full frontal nudity if one uses certain search words. Some have complained that this creates problems with screening the internet for children. On this question, Wikipedia has come down on the side of free speech as they interpret it.

Why is free speech the predominant consideration in sexual matters but so compromised in political discourse? This question applies not only to Wikipedia but to other venues as well. The range of permissible topics on television has mushroomed. Back in the 1970's All in the Family was considered to be cutting edge when they allowed a flushing toilet to be heard. Today that would be quaint.

During presidential campaign, there was a blatant bias towards Obama and the Democrats in the mainstream media. There seems to be an inverse relationship between sexual freedom in the media and freedom of political expression. I have no explanation for this phenomenon. Bit it is painfully obvious. It used to be that religion was the opium of the people. Now it is sex.

Wikipedia used to be a free wheeling market place of ideas with a "buyer beware " policy. Those days are over. What a pity


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