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American Spectator's Tom Bethel writes about my views on Wikipedia

By Michael Fumento

In an American Spectator piece, "Global Warmists Feel a Chilly Wind," Tom Bethell states, "Two weeks ago I wrote an article here about global warming and the advocates - call them warmists - who tamper with Wikipedia to reflect their own biases. One warmist named William Connolley, a green ideologue in Britain, had rewritten 5,428 climate articles. His goal was to bring the articles into line with Green Party dogma."

He states, "I contacted Michael Fumento, a science writer who often endorses non-consensus positions. (He has done good work lately in drawing attention to the scare tactics of the "flu-pandemic" promoters; and, earlier, in questioning "AIDS" in Africa. It can be diagnosed there without an HIV test.) Fumento wrote:

The Wiki thing is highly problematic and Wikipedia has expressly been a thorn in my side. Problem is that despite what you hear, wikis are NOT self-correcting. They're "last-person correcting." If under the World Series entry on Wikipedia I write that the 2009 Series was won by the Cubs, that's what the entry says unless and until somebody else fixes it. Then I can go right back and change it. In short, wikis favor those with the most time on their hands - a testament to the expression about idle hands…

Case in point regarding my own entry: Somebody keeps inserting that I'm a scholar at Hudson Institute. I haven't been with Hudson since 2006. So I keep asking a friend to correct the entry. He does so. And within a short period it's been changed back. I can't even guess at the motives but somebody out there has a vested interest in me being seen as still with Hudson.

I can go on. My original Wiki entry was horrible slanted against me. That's essentially true for all conservatives. When Wikipedia gets political, it tends to be left-political. I changed some of the disinformation and documented it as Wikipedia is supposed to require, though you can randomly look at entries and find such terminology as "documented needed." But I thereupon found myself permanently banned from editing a Wikipedia entry. (Yes, I could always use a false IP address.) But who knows more about me than me?

Other people have since done a lot of work to make my entry more fair, but even now under where it lists my freelancing it mentions only one journal, a conservative one. I've freelanced for scores of major publications over the last quarter century including many mainstream ones such as New York Times, Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, USA Weekend, and indeed just days ago the LA Times for the second time. I've had the cover the leftwing New Republic. These are all on my website, and indeed you can find a number just on my "bio" page on that site. Why do they list just one publication and make it a conservative one?

Yes, it's a rhetorical question.

I find that Wikipedia can be a heck of a lot of fun. I watch a show on the Military Channel about, say, the P-51 Mustang and I go to Wikipedia and read lots more about it. It also find it can generate good leads for information. But you'll note that I've long since given up using Wikipedia for hyperlinks in my articles. There's a reason for that.

February 7, 2010 08:28 PM  ·  Environment  ·  Recent Posts