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Monday, July 21, 2008

Irony, thy name is Conservapedia.

As the title of this post suggests, I spotted something a little remarkable during my most recent foray over on Conservapedia. And no, in a break from recent tradition, this is not about the whole Lenski business. Instead this is your standard garden-variety Conservapeon nonsense.

In any case, during my last visit I happened to notice a fairly interesting headline:



Or, in textual form:

"Wikipedia Is A Stunning Example Of How The Propaganda Machine Works" CBS News

There is no doubt where Wikipedia stands: firmly on the Left. Try out Wikipedia’s entries on say, Roe v. Wade or Intelligent Design, and you will see that Wikipedia is the people’s encyclopedia only if those people are not conservatives.


Needless to say this surprised me. CBS News- the former home of Dan Rather and the purveyor of "Rathergate"- is supposed to be one of those biased liberal media outlets. And, as Conservapedia never tires of telling us, Wikipedia is a super liberal organization. Surely one member of the liberal conspiracy wouldn't rat out another member for being... you know... liberal?

Well, as it happens, I clicked the link they supplied and discovered something rather interesting. The article in question was not, actually, an article. Instead, it was an opinion piece by Lawrence Solomon, who wrote it not for CBS News but for the National Review Online. And if that doesn't pique your interest, take a look at these bits and pieces taken from the CBS webpage:



Really, there can be absolutely no doubt that this column was reprinted from the National Review, not commissioned as news by CBS. My personal favorite is the quote on Conservapedia's headline:

There is no doubt where Wikipedia stands: firmly on the Left. Try out Wikipedia’s entries on say, Roe v. Wade or Intelligent Design, and you will see that Wikipedia is the people’s encyclopedia only if those people are not conservatives.


Which is reproduced verbatim from the CBS opinion posting... with the exception that CBS included the attribution:

Try out Wikipedia’s entries on say, Roe v. Wade or Intelligent Design, and you will see that Wikipedia is the people’s encyclopedia only if those people are not conservatives, writes The National Review.


The only reason to "accidentally" omit such a prominent attribution is if you want to conceal it. I mean, it isn't news if the National Review claims that Wikipedia and global warming are liberal bullshit. Hell, they say that all the time. But if CBS says it? Well shit- that's news. And if we just forget to mention that it's a reprinting of a National Review article as an opinion column? Well, you know, who really checks these things, anyway?*

And the really funny part? This blatant, incredible, deliberate obfuscation of the truth in order to push an agenda? It's critiquing Wikipedia for being a propaganda mill.

If the irony were any thicker, you couldn't cut it with a shaped charge.


* Actually, I do. Reasonably frequently.

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